OPERATION BABYLIFT wins the PAAFF Documentary Audience Choice Award!

Tammy Nguyen Lee and George Lee with adoptees Trista Goldberg, Cindy Perry-Mintz, Jared Rehberg (with wife Ying), Leigh Ann Chow, Carol Culver, Dan Burkholder and Beth Berg at the PAAFF screening.

OPERATION BABYLIFT: THE LOST CHILDREN OF VIETNAM Wins Philadelphia Asian American Film Festival Documentary Audience Choice Award

Philadelphia, PA – The 2009 Philadelphia Asian American Film Festival has awarded the Documentary Audience Choice Award to Operation Babylift: The Lost Children of Vietnam.  The film, described as “moving and inspirational” by PAAF Executive Director Joe Kim, screened to a packed theatre on Saturday, October 10th at the Asian Arts Initiative in Philadelphia’s Chinatown.  Operation Babylift world premiered earlier this April at the Vietnamese International Film Festival, where it also won the Audience Choice Award.

Gayle Isa, Executive Director of the Asian Arts Initiative in Philadelphia, attended the screening and said, “Heart-wrenching and heart-warming, Operation Babylift shares the stories of a unique group of Asian American adoptees who illuminate our common humanity. I was moved to tears watching it, and even moreso when I saw the film’s impact on audiences who were relating their own experiences to what they were seeing on screen. A must see for anyone touched by adoption or who cares about the Asian American community and our shared human connections…”

Producer/director Tammy Nguyen Lee experienced an unexpected emotional response. “At the end of the Q&A, we asked all the adoptees in the audience to stand and be recognized. Seeing all of them standing in front of me, many who had traveled from neighboring states, I got choked up with appreciation and was just speechless. It was an amazing moment. I’m very grateful to the audience and festival organizers for such a warm reception.”

Philadelphia adoptee Sarah Lawrence who was also in attendance said, “Operation Babylift: The Lost Children of Vietnam made me feel tremendously proud to be part of one of the greatest humanitarian efforts in American history. As a member of this small group of individuals, so precious and innocent, I am forever thankful for all those individuals who risked their lives so that I could have a one. While we faced many challenges in our lives and continue to struggle with new ones, we must cherish in the simple fact that we are alive today and we can have an impact in this world. This film reminds us all that as human beings we have the remarkable capacity to love one another, care for one another and help one another…even those we don’t even know.”

Operation Babylift: The Lost Children of Vietnam tells the significant, yet untold story of the $2 million U.S. initiative that airlifted over 2,500 Vietnamese orphans out of a war-torn country from the impending threat of the Communist regime.  These adoptees grew up facing unique challenges in America, including prejudice overshadowed by a controversial war and cultural identity crisis.  Featuring compelling and insightful interviews of the volunteers, parents, and organizations directly involved, the documentary takes a contemporary look at Operation Babylift and its relevance to international adoption today. The feature documentary was a passionate team effort that took over 4 years to produce and is currently making its way through the film festival circuit. For more information, please visit www.TheBabylift.com

ATG Against the Grain Productions is a 501(c)(3) non profit organization dedicated to promoting Asian American cultural awareness through compelling media projects, while also raising funds for international orphanages.  For more information please visit www.AgainstTheGrainProductions.com.

Operation Babylift continues its exclusive film festival release this fall at the following festivals:

San Diego Asian Film Festival – 2:00 pm, Saturday, October 24th, Mission Valley Hazard Center UltraStar Theatres

Vancouver Asian Film Festival – 1:30 pm, Sunday, November 8th, Cinemark Tinseltown

St. Louis International Film Festival – 5:00 pm, Saturday, November 21st, Landmark Tivoli Theatre

For more information, please visit the official film website – http://www.thebabylift.com

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