Director: Taggart Siegel
Grade Levels: High school & up
This dramatic documentary explores America’s most recent refugees, struggling against the mounting tension of a post-Viet Nam era filled with guilt and anger. A group of Laotian refugees have built a Buddhist temple on a small farmstead on the outskirts of a resolutely blue-collar town in Illinois. Their efforts to preserve their culture and religious heritage have been greeted by several terrorist attacks on their temple.
By investigating opinions of townspeople and officials concerning the Laotians, the film becomes a barometer of America’s attitude towards refugees and immigrants. Featuring rich and colorful Buddhist ceremonies and Laotians working in a factory, BLUE COLLAR AND BUDDHA is a moving portrait of the experience of today’s refugees and the drama that results when East meets West.