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Spencer Nakasako collaborating with The Vietnamese Youth Development Center
Award: $30,000 Media Arts Grant awarded 1995
Premiered: September 13, 1996 (first community screening); March 1997 (film festival premiere)

Filmmaker Spencer Nakasako collaborated with Southeast Asian youth at the Vietnamese Youth Development Center in San Francisco’s Tenderloin District to create four short works, “Tenderloin Stories,” about their life experiences. The videos were filmed with Hi-8 camcorders and produced, directed, and edited by the young participants working in partnership with Nakasako. Collaborating youth artists were Rudy Choy, Aram Collier, Sarah Diep, Christina Duculan, Cindy Heng, Peter Hep, Jesse Huiynh, Sally Mounlasy, Chrystal Ng, Ra Sek, and Toubi Sourichone.

The finished pieces were screened on video monitors in public and private spaces in the neighborhood—Glide Memorial Church’s Freedom Hall, the Tenderloin Recreation Center, 340 Eddy Street Apartment Buildings, and Boeddeker Park. The films also were shown at the 1997 International Asian American Film Festival and on PBS. Two of the short works won youth media awards and one was broadcast in 1999 on HBO Family’s “30 By 30 Kids Flicks” program.

Spencer Nakasako brought two decades of experience as an independent film and video producer to the project, along with credits for a wide variety of community-based videos, documentaries, and dramatic features.  Among other projects, he created the award-winning documentary a.k.a. Don Bonus with Sokly Ny.  VYDC, founded in 1979 by Vietnamese refugees, provides an array of social service, artistic, and educational programs to an increasingly diverse population of immigrant youth from Southeast Asian.