Director: Julie Mallozzi
Children of Cambodian refugees – three teens in Lowell, Massachusetts – inhabit a gritty blue-collar world shadowed by their parents’ nightmares of the Khmer Rouge. Traditional Cambodian dance links them to their parents’ culture, but fast cars, hip consumerism and new romance pull harder.
Their parents fled the Khmer Rouge genocide in the 1970s, making their way through the jungle to refugee camps in Thailand. In the early 1980s, they resettled in Lowell, a historic New England mill city now home to the country’s second-largest Cambodian community. For these parents, Lowell held the hope of safety, employment and a chance to finally rebuild some of what was shattered by the Khmer Rouge. But for their children, the city offers a dizzying array of choices – many of them risky. MONKEY DANCE is the story of how three kids navigate the confusing landscape of urban adolescence and ultimately begin to make good on their parents’ hopes and dreams.