Director: David Grabias
Executive Producer: Anne Edgar
The Hmong people of Laos were our allies in the Vietnam War; with over 200,000 forced to flee and settle in California as refugees. Nearly 40 years later, 10 of their elders were arrested by the FBI, accused of trying to buy arms so they could return to their homeland and overthrow the Lao government. OPERATION POPCORN tells their epic story from the perspective of Locha Thao, the alleged ringleader.
When a video is smuggled out of Laos showing that the present-day communist government continues to persecute the Hmong still living there, Locha and the elders in America lobby the UN for aid. They discover that few US politicians care about stragglers from a decades-old conflict. But then a shady arms dealer contacts Locha, offering a way for the Hmong left behind in Laos to defend themselves. Locha believes that the dealer has been sent by the CIA, and falls into a web of deceit and intrigue.
Showing how the aftershocks of war reverberate across continents and generations, OPERATION POPCORN is a true-crime tale of how an opportunistic community activist is transformed into an international terrorist.
A 55 minute version of the film is also available. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more details.