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Becoming American

by Ken Levine and Ivory Waterworth Levine

A Hmong refugee family from highlnd Laos resettling in the U.S.

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Hang Sou and his family, preliterate tribal farmers, await resettlement in a refugee camp in Thailand after fleeing their war-consumed native Laos. Becoming American records their odyssey as they travel to and resettle in the United States. As they face nine months of intense culture shock, prejudice, and gradual adaptation to their new home in Seattle, the family provides a rare insight into refugee resettlement and cultural diversity issues. Study Guide Available

quoteThis extraordinary documentary...helps build understanding and empathy for new Americans. It is highly recommended for its beauty, poignancy, and its ability to relate the hardships of one of America's new immigrant groups as it adapts to a new culture.
School Library Journal

quoteThe eloquent script gracefully weaves elements of the Hmong cultural heritage...original cinematography is telling in itself, as the camera sees through the eyes of the naive new comers. This astute, caring production...personalizes the drama of human survival for public library audiences, civil and religious groups and school classes.

quoteBecoming American is a galvanizing force for refugee support efforts. It may prove the most potent single media instrument in teaching the refugees' suspicious American hosts who these frightened newcomers are. It may also build the beginnings of understanding and empathy.
Seattle Weekly


  • Best of Festival, National Educational Film & Video Festival
  • Special Merit, Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences
  • First Place, National Council on Family Relations Film Festival
Becoming American

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Appropriate for: High School College/University