Daughter from Danang
Gail Dolgin, Vincente Franco, Kim Roberts, Sunshine Ludder, B. Quincy Griffin, Hector Perez
In 1975, as the Vietnam War was ending, thousands of orphans and Amerasian children were brought to safety in the United States as part of Operation Babylift. Daughter from Danang tells the dramatic story of one of these children, Heidi Bub, aka Mai Thi Hiep and her Vietnamese mother, separated at war's end and reunited 22 years later. But this is not a simple tale of happy endings. Gail Dolgin and Vicente Franco's riveting heart-wrenching film proves the complexities of family relationships and personal identifies forge across cultural divides.
At age seven, Heidi (formerly Hiep) was adopted by a single woman in the small, socially conservative town of Pulaski, Tennessee, where she was encourage to suppress her Vietnamese background and became, in her words, "101 percent Americanized." Later, when her relationship with her adoptive mother deteriorates, she searches for her birth mother, longing for a loving unconditional bond. When the two finally meet, however, tears of joy give way to more complicated emotions, and hopes on both sides are dashed by painful misunderstandings and expectations.
Tensely unfolding in two drastically different worlds, Heidi's journey becomes an emotional pilgrimage that unleashes warring factions within her soul. The film also tracks the tragic plight of Hiep's birth mother, who traded sexual intimacy with an American soldier to support her children during wartime. Through the intimate and sometimes excruciating moments, Daughter from Danang profoundly shows how wide the chasms of cultural difference and how deep the wounds of war can run—even within one family.