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Documentary Films on Southeast Asia to be Screened

By Sue Wuetcher

Release Date: October 1, 2002

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Janet Gardner and Pham Thai, award-winning documentary film producers known for their work on Southeast Asia, will screen and discuss their most recent film at 7 p.m. Oct. 9 in the Screening Room in the Center for the Arts on the University at Buffalo North (Amherst) Campus.

The film, "Dancing Through Death: The Monkey, Magic & Madness of Cambodia," is a documentary about the devastating effect of Pol Pot's Khmer Rouge reign on Cambodian dancers and their centuries-old tradition of storytelling.

While at UB, Gardner and Thai also will visit a class, "Asian American Experience (AS 110)," to screen and discuss their film "Precious Cargo," which follows the bittersweet journey of a group of Vietnamese young people, adopted by American families at the end of the Vietnam War, who travel back to their homeland in search of their personal history. The film tells the story of Operation Babylift, which brought 2,700 children to the United States.

The class, which will be open to all interested parties, will be held at 9:30 a.m. Oct. 9 in 120 Baldy Hall, North Campus.

Gardner's interest in Southeast Asia began when she covered post-war Vietnam as a reporter for two New Jersey daily newspapers and contributed to The New York Times, The Boston Globe and The Nation. She began her career as a film editor at NBC's "Today Show" and WRC's "News4 Washington," and was a field producer for WNBC's NewsCenter 4.

Her other films include the PBS documentary "A World Beneath the War," which showed the Vietnam War from the villagers' point of view, and "Vietnam: Land of the Ascending Dragon," which provided an overview of Vietnamese history and culture from post-war Vietnam to the present.

A UB alumnus, Thai joined The Gardner Documentary Group as an assistant producer in 1992 for the production of "Vietnam: Land of the Ascending Dragon." As an associate producer, he collaborated on "A World Beneath the War," which won a Silver Apple at the National Educational Film & Video Festival, was nominated for an Emmy for "Outstanding Historical

Programming" and won the Deadline Club Award from the New York City chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. It was broadcast worldwide by Discovery International.

Gardner's and Thai's visit is sponsored by the World Languages Institute in the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures; the Graduate Student Association; the Office of Alumni Relations; the Asian Studies Program; the International Artistic and Cultural Exchange Program (IACE) of the Department of Theatre and Dance, all at UB, and the U.S.-Indochina Educational Foundation, Inc. (USIEF), a non-profit organization based in Buffalo.

For more information, contact the World Languages Institute at 645-2292 or at ub-wli@acsu.buffalo.edu.