GenreDocumentary, War Duration LanguageEnglish
Vicente Franco Release dateJanuary 11, 2002 (2002-01-11) (Sundance)
November 1, 2002 (NYC) Initial releaseNovember 1, 2002 (New York City) DirectorsGail Dolgin, Vicente Franco CastGerald Ford, Heidi Neville-Bub, Tom Miller, Do Thi Thu Hien Music directorB. Quincy Griffin, Van-Anh T. Vo, Hector H. Perez Similar moviesJupiter Ascending, Pitch Perfect 2, The Last Witch Hunter, Frozen, Captain America: The First Avenger, The Avengers
Daughter from danang
Daughter from Đà Nẵng is a 2002 documentary film about an Amerasian, Heidi Bub (a.k.a. Mai Thi Hiep), born on December 10, 1968, in Danang in southern Vietnam, one of the children brought to the United States from Vietnam in 1975 during "Operation Babylift" at the end of the Vietnam War.
Heidi's mother, Mai Thi Kim, already had three children and was estranged from her husband Do Huu Vinh, who had left her to fight with the Viet Cong. She was working at an American military base where she met Heidi's father, an American serviceman. When the North Vietnamese army came closer to Danang, Mai Thi Kim feared for Heidi's safety due to rumors of retaliation against mixed-race children. At the age of six, Heidi was sent to United States and placed in an orphanage run by the Holt Adoption Agency.
Heidi was ultimately adopted by Ann Neville, a single and strictly religious American woman; she spent a year in Columbia, South Carolina before finally settling in Pulaski, Tennessee, where Heidi spent her life.
At the start of the documentary, Heidi has been estranged from her adoptive mother for several years. Her mother evicted Heidi from the home and disowned her for coming home ten minutes after curfew. Heidi had since married and had two children of her own, but the estrangement between her and her mother is still painful, and Heidi hopes that finding her biological mother will help her to achieve some kind of closure. Heidi contacts the Holt Adoption Agency, and learns that her biological mother, Mai Thi Kim, sent them a letter in 1991 asking about Heidi's whereabouts. Heidi decides to return to Vietnam, assisted by journalist Tran Tuong Nhu.
In Vietnam, both Heidi and her family experience culture shock, as Heidi has no knowledge of Vietnamese customs and her family— who lives in abject poverty— has little knowledge of American culture. Mai Thi expects to spend every moment with Heidi, including sleeping beside her at night. Not accustomed to such physical closeness, Heidi feels "suffocated" and overwhelmed.
Later in the visit, her family informs her that because she lives in America, they expect her to regularly send them money. Upon hearing this, Heidi breaks down and walks out of their home in tears. Given the cultural differences, her family does not understand why this upsets her, and one relative remarks that Heidi cries too often. Heidi's guide explains to her that it is common for most Vietnamese nationals who move to America to provide money for their families remaining in Vietnam. Given that she does not really know her Vietnamese family, Heidi feels that they are exploiting her. She decides to return to America ahead of schedule, feeling even more emotional conflict and emptiness than before she left.
Months after Heidi's visit, she says she occasionally gets letters from her family in Vietnam, but they are all requests for money. She has chosen not to reply.
As of mid-2012, Heidi and her mother have not met again since her initial visit. She has chosen not to keep in touch with her Vietnamese family, since doing so brings her too much pain.
The film won the Grand Jury Prize for Documentary at the Sundance Film Festival and was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature.
Film festival awards
2002 Sundance Film Festival, Grand Jury Prize Best Documentary
San Francisco International Film Festival, Golden Gate Award Grand Prize, Best Bay Area Documentary
Ojai Film Festival, Best Documentary Feature
Durango (Colorado) Film Festival, Filmmakers Award
2002 Texas Film Festival, Best Documentary and Audience Choice Award
New Jersey International Film Festival, Best Documentary
Nashville International Film Festival, Honorable Mention - Best Documentary
Cleveland International Film Festival, Runner Up - Best Film