ÁCCENTED: “Directing the Narrative: AAPI Representation in Film and Media”

Don’t miss the next episode of ÁCCENTED: Dialogues in Diaspora, presented by the Diasporic Vietnamese Artists Network (DVAN). This season, we will welcome a distinguished lineup of authors, artists, poets, cultural producers, and community organizers across the Southeast Asian diaspora.

This fresh episode of ÁCCENTED will feature a panel of directors, screenwriters, and distributors in film and media. Thien A. Pham, Bao Tran, and Hàm Trần will join Pulitzer-prize winning author Viet Thanh Nguyen in a conversation around Asian American representation on both small and big screens, focusing on behind the camera.

This Zoom event takes place on Wednesday, February 23rd, 2022 at 6 pm PST / 9pm EST. Tickets are $5 and can be purchased here.

This show is sponsored by the Surdna Foundation.


Thien A. Pham is a producer/director with accomplished experience in over 20 different languages and markets. While pursuing a film degree at Cal State University, Long Beach, Thien founded what is now known as 3388 Films, a media & film production and distribution company specialized in Asian and Southeast Asian content, with a mission to create with intention and connect diverse media & film content to global audiences.

Thien actively seeks projects that highlight the rich layers of cultural identities in our global world and is a proud Vietnamese-American who thrives on forging new paths. Early in his career, Thien directed the first-ever Vietnamese-American singing competition TV series, sponsored by McDonald’s. Recent feature film projects include producing Actress Wanted, an award-winning thriller/horror genre film that explores the intergenerational diasporic identities, cultural memories and collective trauma of the Vietnamese-American community in Orange County, California. Actress Wanted was an official selection of the 2019 Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival, and swept lead acting awards at the 2018 Viet Film Fest, the largest international Vietnamese film festival in the world. In 2021, Actress Wanted was included in IMDb’s watchlist of “10 of the highest ranked horror films on Amazon Prime Video, according to IMDb.”

Thien’s US theatrical distribution projects include the epic, action fantasy Tấm Cám: The Untold Story, directed by Veronica Ngo, and Bố Già (Dad, I’m Sorry), the first Vietnam-produced film to surpass $1M at the US box office, marking a historic milestone and making the film the number one Vietnamese film of all time at the US domestic box office.

His upcoming feature film projects include Send, a hyper suspense thriller about the perils of online sexual predators targeting vulnerable underage teens, and Eternal Affair, an erotic thriller about the emotional trappings of a sexless marriage. Send is slated for production in Orange County, California in 2022.

Thien is an advocate for continual learning and paying it forward, and invests his time in teaching editing & filmmaking at local community colleges. He also invests time in eating his way through new, cultural travel experiences.

Bao Tran was mentored early on by master action director Corey Yuen, where Bao was instilled with an approach to action that doesn’t rely solely on spectacle, but also draws on story and character. Screen Anarchy commended his written-and-directed short BOOKIE for its “flawlessly realized world populated by entirely fleshed out and believable characters, driven by a compelling narrative and brought to sumptuous life.” His editing credits include CHO LON, one of Southeast Asia’s highest-budgeted action blockbusters, and JACKPOT, a heartfelt comedy selected as Vietnam’s official entry to the 2016 Oscars for Best Foreign Film. Variety praised his first directorial feature THE PAPER TIGERS as an “irresistibly good-humored debut,” while the New York Times remarked his “lighthearted, refreshing approach neither succumbs to whitewashing nor the model-minority myth.” Rotten Tomatoes ranks it in each of their top categories for Best Action, Comedies, and Asian American Movies with a “Certified Fresh” rating. He also recently joined the ViacomCBS Directors Initiative.

Hàm Trần received his MFA in Directing from the UCLA School of Film and Television. His first two short films The Prescription and Pomegranate were finalists for the Student Academy Awards® in 2000 and 2001. Tran’s thesis film The Anniversary was Short-listed for the 2004 Academy Awards® for Best Live Action Short. In 2006 Tran premiered his first feature, Journey from the Fall, at the prestigious Sundance Film Festival. This film went on to receive 16 international festival awards for Best Feature Film and was the first Vietnamese film released by Netflix. On October 4, 2019, Journey was listed by the LA Times as one of the Best 20 Asian American films in the last 20 years. On May 11, 2020, Tran was interviewed, along with Pulitzer Prize-Winning author Viet Thanh Nguyen, as part notable figures in the Vietnamese American community in the celebrated PBS documentary series, Asian Americans.

Tran came back to Vietnam in 2012 to direct a romantic comedy called How to Fight in Six-Inch Heels. The film won Tran a Golden Kite Awards in 2013, and its success resulted in Tran being hired to do his third feature in 2014, a horror film called Hollow. This was the first serious horror film in Vietnam to make more than $2 million in the box office. In 2015, Tran continues to pioneer new genres with a heist film called Bitcoin Heist, which was bought by Well Go USA and distributed by Netflix, Amazon, and iTunes. In 2016, Tran made another successful comedy called She’s the Boss.

In 2017 Tran and his Vietnamese film colleagues formed a Vietnam-based International Film company called EAST. In 2019, Ròm, a film that EAST co-produced, directed by Tran Thanh Huy, premiered at the Busan International Film Festival and won the New Currents Award. In January of 2020, Be Water, a biographical documentary about the life of legendary martial artist, Bruce Lee, and EAST’s second co-produced film, directed by Bao Nguyen, premiered at the prestigious Sundance Film Festival. Also in 2020, Tran was selected by Sony Television for their Diverse Directors Program. In 2022, Tran released Vietnam’s first Sci-fi Kids film called Maika.

In addition to feature films, Tran has also made commercials and branded shorts for international brands such as Samsung, Oppo, Ponds, Ensure, Ovaltine, Laurier, KitKat, and local brands such as VinFast motors, Coffee House, and BHD cinemas.


The Surdna Foundation seeks to foster sustainable communities in the United States — communities guided by principles of social justice and distinguished by healthy environments, inclusive economies, and thriving cultures.

For over five generations, the Foundation has been governed largely by descendants of John E. Andrus and has developed a tradition of innovative service for those in need of help or opportunity.

To learn more about the Surdna Foundation and their work, please visit their website: https://surdna.org/


Viet Thanh Nguyen is the author of The Sympathizer, Nothing Ever Dies: Vietnam and the Memory of War, The Refugees, Race and Resistance: Literature, Politics and Asian America, and Chicken of the Sea, written with his son Ellison. His most recent book is The Committed, the sequel to The Sympathizer.


Philip Nguyen is the emcee for ÁCCENTED: Dialogues in Diaspora presented by the Diasporic Vietnamese Artists Network (DVAN). He teaches Asian American Studies in the College of Ethnic Studies at San Francisco State University and is the Executive Director for the Vietnamese American Roundtable, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization based in San Jose, California. Philip serves as the President of the Union of North American Vietnamese Student Associations (UNAVSA) and as the Co-Chair of the Young Vietnamese Americans (YVA) Committee for PIVOT – The Progressive Vietnamese American Organization.


Sin our silent auction to take home a digital copy of Bố Già (Dad, I’m Sorry), a rare Blu-ray disc of Paper Tigers signed by all of the cast and crew, and a signed photo book for Journey from the Fall!


  1. Create an account and access ÁCCENTED’s online auction.
  2. Click on “View All Items” and click on the item(s) you’d like.
  3. Enter your desired bid amount under “Bidding” and place your bid.


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