DALLAS, TX – Dallas-based nonprofit organization ATG Against the Grain Productions had its first community outreach screening of its award-winning documentary Operation Babylift: The Lost Children of Vietnam at the Washington University School of Law (WUSTL) in St. Louis, Missouri, which took place at 7 p.m. on Monday, March 15th in the Bryan Cave Moot Courtroom of Anheuser-Busch Hall. Filmmaker Tammy Nguyen Lee, along with four local St. Louis residents who were involved in Operation Babylift, attended the screening and participated in the engaging panel discussion after.
“Our first community outreach screening was a huge success. We are very grateful for the outpouring of support and emotion. To see the film touch such a broad spectrum of lives and connect people in this way makes all our hard work worthwhile and richly rewarding,” said Tammy Nguyen Lee.
Operation Babylift is Tammy Nguyen Lee’s feature directorial debut and tells the story of how more than 2,500 orphans were airlifted out of Vietnam during the last days of the Vietnam War and their tumultuous journey growing up in America. The documentary incorporates a historical and contemporary view of this little known and controversial part of American history, featuring compelling interviews from a cross-section of adoptees, their parents and volunteers, as well as archival and rare home video footage.
“Operation Babylift inspires and provokes on many levels. An honest and nuanced examination of international adoption, it also is a poignant chronicle of how children, parents, and adults adjust over a lifetime in their understandings of parenting and home. Students at Washington University loved this film,” said Kent D. Syverud, J.D., WUSTL law school dean and the Ethan A.H. Shepley University Professor, who, as a law clerk, assisted the judge presiding over the class action lawsuit from the crash.
“Many had strong emotional reactions to the film, the panel discussion and the historical events presented. Law students got a close look at the human face of inter-country adoption, the tragic circumstances often prompting such adoptions and the hope and promise they represent. Today, inter-country adoption continues to raise difficult questions, and the film’s nuanced approach deepened the students’ understanding of these issues,” said Susan Appleton, J.D., WUSTL’s Lemma Barkeloo and Phoebe Couzins Professor of Law, whose scholarship and teaching focuses on adoption and who served as moderator and organizer of the community event.
“Operation Babylift did more than leave me thinking: it left me caring. The documentary was educational and eye-opening, but, above all, it was moving. I didn’t know how bad things were in Vietnamese orphanages back then, and I can only imagine the hardships the surviving adoptees went through. I am thankful for the, at times, painfully emotional glimpse the film provided,” said Mei Qi, WUSTL law student and President of the Asian Pacific American Law Students Association (APALSA).
To see pictures from the event, visit ATG’s Flickr site.
ATG Against The Grain Productions, a Dallas-based 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, promotes Asian-American cultural awareness through compelling media projects and raises funds for international orphanages. Operation Babylift: The Lost Children of Vietnam has received the Audience Choice Award for Best Feature Film at the Vietnamese International Film Festival and the Documentary Audience Choice Award from the Philadelphia Asian American Film Festival. For more information, visit www.AgainstTheGrainProductions.com or www.TheBabylift.com