“Funny Money” Director Thien Do part of Viet Kieu Filmmakers

Director Thien Do is a part of a larger wave of overseas Vietnamese who have gone to Vietnam to make their films.

Funny Money is a Vietnamese satire film, which screens at CAAMFest San Jose Saturday, September 6 at 2:30 p.m.

“Lucky Loc is in a good spot in his life. As the owner of a company that produces ceremonial gifts and offerings for the dead, fake paper money in particular, he finds himself as one of the more respectable citizens of society. However, the ”luck” to his Lucky suddenly disappears when a fake paper bill falls into the hands of a flower shop salesgirl named Quyen. In contrast, Quyen finds the money very unlucky when strange occurrences start happening around her, and decides to hold the fake money at ransom. Without his luck, Loc must now find a way to survive and stay sane through this mess of a mix-up. Set in modern-day Vietnam, Funny Money pokes fun at the effects of an increasingly materialistic world. Directed by Thien Do, this rom-com satirically reminds us money can’t always buy you everything.”

Director Thien Do is a part of a larger wave of Viet Kieu (overseas Vietnamese) filmmakers who’ve gone to Vietnam to make their films. This includes Stephane Gauger (Owl and the Sparrow, Saigon Electric), Timothy Linh Bui (Three Seasons), Charlie Nguyen (The Rebel) and Minh Nguyen-Vo (Buffalo Boy)

In addition to filmmakers, Vietnamese American actors like Kathy Uyen (CAAMFest 2014 Opening Night Film How to Fight in Six Inch Heels), Dustin Nguyen (21 Jump Street, The Rebel, Once Upon a Time in Vietnam) and Johnny Nguyen (The Rebel and Charlie Nguyen’s brother) have found success as actors in Vietnam. Uyen is also a writer, and Dustin Nguyen writes, directs and acts in Once Upon a Time in Vietnam.

“Viet Kieu are now involved with at least half of the commercial films made in Vietnam — a stunning development considering that not long ago those who returned faced deep suspicion from the Communist government as well as opposition from staunch anti-Communists in San Jose and Orange County,” according to the San Jose Mercury News.

Director Thien Do will be at the screening. Do’s short film, The Fading Light, screened at CAAMFest in 2009. Watch The Fading Light below.

Main image: Funny Money is a satire set in modern-day Vietnam. Directed by Thien Do. The screening is sponsored by Lifestyle Network and co-Presented by Asian Americans for Community Involvement and Cinequest.