Film on Agent Orange Effects To be Shown at United Nations
Chau, Beyond the Lines, nominated this year for an Academy Award as best short documentary, tells the story of Le Minh Chau, a young man disabled by the effects of the chemical who succeeds in his ambition to be an artist despite losing the use of his arms and legs, using his teeth to move the brushes.
Chau was brought to the attention of the filmmakers, Courtney Marsh and Jerry Franck, when he was 16 and living in a care center in Ho Chi Minh City. Now 25, he is coming from Vietnam to attend the screening, the first victim of Agent Orange to speak at an official U.N. event.
(Several of his paintings are posted on beyondthelinesfilm.com)
The film, which followed Chau’s determination and progress for eight years, has won several awards, including the top prize for a short documentary at the Austin Film Festival, the USA Film Festival, the Fort Lauderdale Film Festival and the Irvine International Film Festival.
Some of the background to Chau’s story is explored in an article on continuing efforts to develop relationships between the United States and Vietnam that appeared in the Spring 2015 issue of the newsletter. It was adapted from a speech by Charles Bailey, who worked for the Foundation for 33 years in several international postings, including Hanoi, the former name of Ho Chi Minh City, and who was director of the Aspen Institute Agent Orange Program in Vietnam.
In that article, Bailey said he continues to use the Aspen website “to show how it is possible to now bypass the fierce politics of the past on Agent Orange and to update about 30,000 visitors on the unfolding progress between the two governments.”