The Mother

Doan Hong Le 44:18, Vietnam

Nguyen Thi Dep, a Vietnamese woman, loved an American band sergeant in Saigon, Vietnam in 1969. Their daughter Phuong Mai was born in 1972, after the sergeant was sent back to America. In April, 1975, the last days of the Vietnam War, The American government organized Operation Babylift, to move 3,000 American- Vietnamese children and orphans to America and some European countries. Ms Dep sent Phuong Mai to America in this operation, because there were rumours that communists from the North would kill people who worked for the American army when they came to Saigon. For more than 40 years Ms Dep has spent her life searching for her daughter. This is the story of her journey.

Doan Hong Le was born in 1974. She is a filmmaker from Danang, Vietnam. In 2004 she joined the Varan workshop to learn direct cinema filmmaking in Hanoi, in 2008 she continued to join the master class in Hanoi. In 2010 and 2011 she ran the two Varan workshops in Danang. She currently works for VTV8. Films made by her: 2009: ‘Who owns the land?’, Jury’s Award, Cameras des Champs Film festival, France. 2015: ‘My father, the last communist’, Long Feature Documentary Award, DMZ Film Festival, South Korea. 2018: ‘Remember you are alive’; (26 mins), Golden Kite Award, Best Director Award, Vietnam. 2020: ‘The Mother’, Jury’s Award, Festival del Cinema di Cefalu, Italy.