A Village Called Versailles

One community's political awakening in the aftermath of tragedy.
Year Released
Film Length(s)
54 mins
Closed captioning available
Remote video URL


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.

Featured review

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.
Elliot Mandel


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

DVD includes:

• 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.
Linda Trinh Vo
Chair, Department of Asian American Studies, University of California, Irvine
Three and a half stars! Offers an important sociological examination of how Vietnamese immigrants have assimilated into the U.S. mainstream. Highly recommended.
P. Hall
Video Librarian
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.
Dr. Wei Li
Associate Professor, Asian Pacific American Studies Program and School of Geographical Sciences & Urban Planning, Arizona State University
This visual montage will add to the historical and ethnographic record of America's diverse Vietnamese American communities.
Mariam B. Lam
University of California, Riverside, Visual Anthropology
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.
Randy Brawley
Preparedness Analyst and Planning Officer, FEMA
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.
Christopher A. Airriess
Department of Geography, Ball State University, IN
A Village Called Versailles is an inspiring film demonstrating the critical role faith communities can play in organizing for social change.
Rev. Michael Yoshii
Buena Vista United Methodist Church
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.
Mikaila Mariel Lemonik Arthur
Teaching Sociology
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.
Prof. Cynthia Joyce
Meek School of Journalism & New Media, University of Mississippi

Awards and Screenings

National Emmy(R) Awards Nomination
PBS national broadcast, Independent Lens 2010
American Library Association: Notable Videos for Adults
LA Asian Pacific Film Festival, Audience Award and Call to Action Award
San Francisco Int'l Asian Am Film Festival, Audience Award
Council on Foundations Film & Video Fest, Henry Hampton Award
Philadelphia Asian American Film Festival, Best Documentary
Crossroads Film Festival, Best Documentary
New Orleans Film Festival, Audience Award
American Sociological Association film screening
Association for Asian American Studies screening
AAA/SVA Film, Video, & Multimedia Festival
Association of American Geographers annual meeting
New England American Studies Association meeting
National CAPACD annual meeting
ViFF: Vietnamese Int'l Film Festival
Hawaii Int'l Film Festival
San Diego Asian Film Festival
DC APA Film Festival
Austin Asian American Film Festival

Features and Languages

Film Features

  • Closed Captioning
  • DVD Extras

Promotional Material

Promotional Stills

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