Wednesday, April 1, 2009

BOLINAO 52 : Remembrance, Reconciliation and Healing

Contact: Duc Nguyen, Film Director
510-593-5395 or

BOLINAO 52 : Remembrance, Reconciliation and Healing
With a Special RECOGNITION AWARD presentation to honor

SUNDAY, APRIL 26, 2009- 1 – 4 PM
2002 North Main Street
Santa Ana, California 92706

$15 General Public
$12 Museum Members (Tickets available online at or the museum’s box office.)

March 23, 2008 --- Following the end of the Vietnam War in 1975, millions of refugees took the perilous voyage across the South China Sea to find freedom. Many died of drowning, starvation and thirst. Some were lost at sea for days while others were pillaged and raped by pirates. More than thirty years later, filmmaker Duc Nguyen, himself a boat refugee, retraces the odyssey of the Bolinao 52 – and reveals an incredible tale of survival, reconciliation and closure.

One hundred and ten refugees boarded a crowded boat one night in May 1988. Soon after leaving Vietnam, the boat’s engine died. They were ignored by over 20 passing ships. Nineteen days later, the USS Dubuque stopped but the ship’s captain refused to pick up the dying refugees. Facing death, they resorted to cannibalism. After 37 days at sea, only 52 people survived. Finally, humble fishermen rescued them to the coastal town of Bolinao in the Philippines. This is the true story of the Bolinao 52.

The event will culminate with a discussion panel on remembrance, reconciliation and healing that welcomes audience participation. A wine reception with light refreshments will cap off the program.

The panelists include:

Duc Nguyen, Filmmaker – A former boat person, the making of Bolinao 52 was a personal mandate for filmmaker Duc Nguyen to educate the world about the struggles of refugees. Due to the phenomenal response by international audiences to this film, especially from overseas Vietnamese viewers, he wants to use this landmark film to foster intergenerational and interdisciplinary dialogue and counseling.

Mai-Phuong Nguyen, MD, Associate Producer - Former co-chairperson of the student advocacy group, Project Ngoc-UC Irvine during the peak of the boat people’s plight against forcible repatriation back to Vietnam in the late 1980s. Dr. Nguyen brings extensive social and health advocacy experience along with her clinical expertise as a physician, to discuss how this film can be used to promote healing as well as cultural competency training for healthcare professionals serving immigrant populations.

Xuyen Dong-Matsuda, PsyD, Psychologist/Social Worker – A clinical consultant for the Orange County Asian Pacific Islanders Community Alliance and several other non-profit organizations with over 20 years experience serving ethnic communities, Dr. Dong-Matsuda will field questions. She has spoken on mental health issues on several Vietnamese radio and television shows and contributes regularly to print media. In 2004, the OC Register named her one of the Top 30 Vietnamese Americans to Watch.

BOLINAO 52 is a co-production of Duc Nguyen and the Independent Television Service (ITVS), produced in association with the Center for Asian American Media (CAAM) and KTEH Public Television, with funding provided by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB). Additional funding is provided by All Roads Film Project and Pacific Pioneer Fund.

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