'Hmong Memory at the Crossroads' Film Premiere

The College of Arts & Letters Department of Romance and Classical Studies will premiere the documentary film Hmong Memory at the Crossroads at 4:00 pm, Monday, February 15, 2016 in the Kellogg Hotel and Conference Center Auditorium, 219 S. Harrison Road, East Lansing. Admission is FREE and open to the public. A discussion and reception will follow.

Film Synopsis

Hmong Memory at the Crossroads weaves the stories of three generations of Hmong refugees in the United States Midwest and France. Liachoua Naolu Lee, a Hmong-American from Rochester Hills, Michigan, revisits his past as a former refugee and son of Hmong veterans of the French Indochina War (1946-1954), and of the American Secret War in Laos (1961-1975).

Lee’s story begins in Detroit, Michigan, then takes him to France, where he and his family sought asylum before immigrating to the United States, and ends in an emotional return to his homeland Laos for the first time in 40 years. Along the way, his personal story is brought into conversation with those of others from the Hmong community, American Vietnam veterans, French Indochina War veterans, historians and government officials in the United States Midwest and France.

Funding, Recognition & The Sequel

Hmong Memory at the Crossroads is a production of Michigan State University, in partnership with the Humanities Without Walls Consortium based at the University of Illinois-Urbana-Champaign. MSU event co-sponsors include The Office for Inclusion and Intercultural Initiatives, The College of Arts & Letters, Asian Studies Center, The Department of English, and Global Studies in the Arts and Humanities.

As senior project PI, Professor Safoi Babana-Hampton filled the roles of producer, executive producer, director, and screenwriter, working collaboratively with a diverse team of established researchers from various disciplines in the US and France, including co-directors MSU Professor Swarnavel Eswaran-Pillai and French documentarian Cyril Payen, several researchers from MSU, including Professors Charles Keith, Marsha MacDowell, Jyotsna Singh, Marjan Helms, Humanities Without Walls Consortium collaborators, including Professors Ian Baird (University of Wisconsin), Mai Na Lee (University of Minnesota), Catherine Perry (University of Notre Dame) and Michael Rothberg (University of Illinois), and from the Lansing area, including Michigan Hmong Oral Historian Martha Bloomfield, and from the Hmong community in the United States and France.

The film was nominated for Best Feature Film at the Indie Fest USA International Film Festival, Garden Grove, CA, in October 2015. With external funds recently secured through the Humanities Without Walls Consortium, a sequel to this documentary is currently in production, tentatively titled Growing up Hmong at the Crossroads. It will spotlight the Hmong diasporic experience from the perspective of second- and third-generation Hmong.

For more information, visit the film’s website at http://hmc.cal.msu.edu