A Village Called Versailles is an Emmy-nominated documentary about Versailles, an isolated community in eastern New Orleans that has been settled by Vietnamese boat people since the late 1970s. In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, the Vietnamese American residents in Versailles impressively rise to the challenges by returning and rebuilding before any other flooded neighborhood in New Orleans, only to have their homes threatened by a new government-imposed toxic landfill just two miles away. A Village Called Versailles recounts the empowering story of how this group of people, who has already suffered so much in their lifetime, turns a devastating disaster into a catalyst for change and a chance for a better future.
Tells a poignant and touching story of a community's rejuvenation in the face of devastation and government corruption. The film focuses on a group of passionate residents working to establish their community.
Recommended by educators as an excellent teaching tool for courses in:
Asian American Studies • Ethnic Studies • American Studies • Geography • Sociology • Urban Studies • Urban Planning • History • Anthropology • Environmental Justice
• 67-min Theatrical version with Vietnamese subtitles
• 54-min Educational/PBS version with closed captions and audio descriptions
• 15-min Condensed version
Presents with great sensitivity the tragedies of displacement, yet focuses on the remarkable power of dignified resistance and coalition-building across generational, gender, class, linguistic, and racial boundaries.
Three and a half stars! Offers an important sociological examination of how Vietnamese immigrants have assimilated into the U.S. mainstream. Highly recommended.
A Village Called Versailles is an excellent documentary film for classrooms at K-12 and universities, especially in Asian American studies and ethnic studies in general, community studies, geography, sociology, urban studies, and urban planning, as well as for general public education.
This visual montage will add to the historical and ethnographic record of America’s diverse Vietnamese American communities.
A Village Called Versailles, with its accompanying disaster resilience curriculum, was a profound focal point for our FEMA Region IX Whole Community Workshop. I will continue to feature the film as an inspirational foundation for our future preparedness workshops.
A Village Called Versailles accomplishes the difficult task of weaving the story of refugee migration experiences, the construction of a sense of place, and the transformation of cultural/ethnic identities not found in many other educational films. The film is ideal for courses addressing ethnic solidarity and networks, as well as social and environmental justice themes.
A Village Called Versailles is an inspiring film demonstrating the critical role faith communities can play in organizing for social change.
An effective narrative with strong characters and powerful visuals that make an unusual story come alive in ways that are accessible and engaging for a wide variety of audiences.
I added A Village Called Versailles to my JOUR 590 Multimedia Storytelling course because it addresses so many of the issues we were exploring in class -- the fundamentals of research and reporting, how to find and develop key sources, the mechanics of a great on-camera interview, and, most importantly, how to build a narrative based on universal themes while still capturing the precise details and nuances of a particular story. My students were so inspired seeing this film that I've added it to more of my classes -- it's a great case study for how to produce a compelling and accessible visual story about a complicated subject.