The Vietnamese American creative community lost two people in the recent months. Hiep Thi Le, who acted in the Oliver Stone-directed Heaven & Earth, passed away on December 19, 2017. Le was a refugee from Vietnam whose family eventually resettled in Oakland, California. She also starred in Green Dragon and attended CAAM’s festival for the film, and acted in the Wayne Wang film The Princess of Nebraska.
Vietnamese American filmmaker Stephane Gauger passed away on January 11, 2018. The director behind Owl and the Sparrow and Saigon Electric is a CAAMFest filmmaker alum.
“We are saddened to hear of the passing of Hiep Thi Le and Stephane Gauger,” said Masashi Niwano, CAAM’s Director of Festivals & Exhibitions. “Hiep left a legacy of starring in Heaven & Earth and other films as well as being a restauranteur. Stephane was a true visionary, kind hearted and passionate about telling stories of underrepresented communities. They will be missed and we send our warm regards to their family and friends.”
From filmmaker Bao Nguyen, a friend of Stephane Gauger and who worked with him Saigon Electric:
“Stephane’s first film, Owl and the Sparrow, was a true work of love and passion, a reminder to all young filmmakers that if you have a
will to make your film, then you can go out and make it, regardless of money and resources. But Stephane was not just an inspirational artist
to young filmmakers but a generous and supportive friend. After working with him on Saigon Electric, it was his guidance and generosity that convinced me to move to Vietnam and to make films. He was truly that bridge that connected America and Vietnam. He will be greatly missed but his memories live on in the art he created and the stories and memories he built with his loved ones. May yourindependent spirit carry on, Stephane. Love you.”