Vietnamese struggle in New Orleans topic of film at Steamboat library
June 23, 2010
Steamboat Springs — "A Village Called Versailles," a documentary film, tells the story of how a Vietnamese community on the outskirts of New Orleans persevered after Hurricane Katrina.
It's a powerful message and a common theme with immigrant communities all across the world, said Tatiana Achcar, executive director of Integrated Community.
Achcar has seen the film and said it's about the Vietnamese community that, for a long time, had no voice in Versailles. She said it took a tragedy like Katrina to get them involved. It speaks to a common situation among immigrant communities across the country, she said.
"Oftentimes, people are busy working, raising children or trying to get by," Achcar said. "Sometimes, it takes a rude awakening, something that touches and affects people in a dramatic way, for them to awaken and participate more as community members."
Bud Werner Memorial Library and Integrated Community are hosting a free screening of "A Village Called Versailles" at 6:30 tonight in Library Hall.
The film is part of the PBS Independent Lens documentary series. Jennie Lay, adult programs coordinator at the library, said Steamboat Springs was one of 50 communities chosen to show the documentary series that airs on PBS.
Lay said the library has partnered with a community group for each film in the series, which it started showing in the fall. She said the response has been so positive that Bud Werner has signed up for next year's film series, which begins in October.
"It's been incredibly popular and successful," Lay said. "We've had outstanding turnout for these films and some pretty thought-provoking discussions after the films every month that we've done it. I think there are a lot of regulars that would be sad to see this go."
Lay, who didn't want to give away too much about the film, said it's an amazing story about how the Vietnamese community in Versailles — the densest population outside of Vietnam — was almost forgotten after Katrina but worked to rebuild and became bigger and better than it was before.
"I think it's a pretty compelling story that most of us don't know," Lay said. "It's a Katrina story that I think most of us haven't heard."
Achcar said Integrated Community printed posters in Vietnamese and Spanish to advertise for the film screening. She has reached out to some Vietnamese members of the Steamboat community and hopes they attend.
Through the screening of "A Village Called Versailles," Achcar hopes to get to know the Vietnamese community in Steamboat. She said the film is in English with Vietnamese subtitles.
"I think it's a beautiful message, and it was beautifully portrayed," Achcar said. "I think not only the Vietnamese community, but all immigrant communities, can take away a lot from it."