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Nerakhoon or "The Betrayal,"  First Laotian-American Documentary Film to Compete at Sundance


Thavisouk Phrasavat discussed his documentary "Nerakhoon" or "The Betrayal" with VOA in a recent interview:

"I really want to share this life-long experience with many people around the globe, not only other people, but also the people of my own, who share the same roots and heritage, so that they will understand how we arrived in America in the first place."

"Nerakhoon" is a story about a single mother who fled Laos and took all her children to stay in a refugee camp in Thailand, and then to America in search for a better life. After enduring the hardship of a refugee camp, they thought their lives would be better in their new land. But they faced another dilemma -
living in an unfamiliar and unknown environment that was stranger to them than Thailand.

The movie documented the life of one Laotian family who resettled in Brooklyn, New York, during the early 80's, how they lived, how they struggled and went though all the odds to strive for a better life and blend in with the American society. It's the story of an unimaginable journey of Thavisouk's family: learning the new language; trying to cope with culture, traditions and people with colors. It also captured the heartbreak moment of his life: losing a family's loved one to a gang member, one of Thavi's very own half-brother. The movie took 23 years in making.

"Nerakhoon" was selected for a Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance International Film Festival in Park City, Utah, last Februar. Recently, it premiered in Maryland, at the Silverdoc International Film Festival. It attracted a lot of audiences including local Laotian-Americans and other Asians.

Thavi talked to VOA proudly about the seven big awards that his film received, which include the Human Rights Award sponsored by Cinereach of New York, Immerging Director of Minneapolis and Spectrum Award in North Carolina, for being a minority group who brought a different perspective into the American movie industry.

At the conclusion of the interview, Thavi said, "We as Laotians, should stick together, reach out and help one another.
We have to build our very own Superman; we can't wait for other people to build our super hero. We got to do that ourselves."

Thavi told VOA that he is very honored and proud to be a part of this groundbreaking for all Laotians in the movie arena, in the mainstream of the American society.

Thavi said from now on he will be busy traveling around the globe to promote his movie. He will also be starting scripts for his next movie, "Sadcha" which means "The Truth."

Stay tuned for our update on Thavisouk's future undertaking.

Listen to our audio files for the whole interview in Lao.

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