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Vu T. Thu Ha collaborating with Locus Arts (Film Arts Foundation, fiscal sponsor)

Award: $35,000 Media Arts Grant awarded in 2003

Premiered:  San Francisco International Asian American Film Festival in March 2006

Interdisciplinary artist Vu T. Thu Ha collaborated with Locus Arts and with Asian and Pacific Islander Wellness Center (API Wellness) to create an experimental film, Kieu, based on Truyen Kieu (The Tale of Kieu), Viet Nam’s national epic by Nguyen Du.  In Vu T. Thu Ha’s  film, Truyen Kieu has been transformed from a 19th Century poem about a heroine named Kieu, into an experimental narrative about a Vietnamese woman and her life as an immigrant and massage parlor worker in the United States.

In this collaboration, Locus Arts facilitated feedback screenings for the artist and provided practical assistance, including referrals to cast and crew members.  A&PI Wellness enabled an outreach worker to accompany the Kieu crew on massage parlor visits, and created a list of resources available to Asian massage parlor workers to be used as an insert with distributed copies of the film. 

Vu T. Thu Ha is an interdisciplinary artist, known primarily for her films, photography, and conceptual art installations.  Her work strives to create visual dialogue around Asian American issues such as identity, language, assimilation, and immigration.  She was born in Vietnam and immigrated to the United States in 1984 to North Carolina.

Locus Arts is an all-volunteer grassroots organization that was established in 2000 and showcases innovative community-based projects featuring emerging Asian American artists.  API Wellness educates, supports, empowers, and advocates for Asian and Pacific Islander communities.  Founded in 1987, it is the oldest nonprofit organization in North America targeting API communities around sexual health and HIV/AIDS services.