A profound and heart-warming documentary, Thao’s Library tells the extraordinary story of two young women who come together from across the globe. Thao, a disabled woman from South Vietnam, and Elizabeth, from New York, discover friendship, solace, and purpose in each other. Elizabeth desperately seeks meaning in her life after the death of her sister. By chance, she sees a black and white photo of Thao in a wheelchair, and becomes obsessed with meeting her. Yearning for escape from the void left by her sister’s death, Elizabeth decides to travel to Vietnam.
Once in Vietnam, Elizabeth learns that Thao is among many other Vietnamese children who were born with deformities due to the toxic defoliant and herbicide known as Agent Orange. The chemical was employed throughout the Vietnamese countryside by the American military during the Vietnam War. Elizabeth grows close to Thao as she explores the beautiful local scenery and learns about the lives of the villagers. Thao wants nothing more than to build a library for the children of the village. Although she has little money and is still overcome with personal grief, Elizabeth becomes determined to help her “angel Thao.” Drawn together by purpose, resilience, and love, the two embark on a life-changing journey.
By Catherine Ai
Thao’s Library won the Audience Award at the inagural Bentonville Film Festival, created by Academy Award winning actress Geena Davis to spotlight women and diversity in film. The film also picked up honors at the St. Louis International Film Festival receiving the Interfaith Award. Thao’s Library premiered in AMC Theaters nationwide in the fall of 2015 and will be available on DVD in Walmart stores and video on demand in 2016.
“An extraordinary tale of resilience and serendipity.”
– Peter Keough, Boston Globe
“A poetic, poignant, and ultimately cathartic documentary. The best non-fiction film I’ve
seen this year!”
– Michael Smith, Time Out Chicago
“Van Meter should be commended for restoring the audience’s faith in humanity.”
– Ari Offer, NYC Movie Guru
“It’s as if something good and wholly unexpected has passed into legend. Deservedly
– Tom Keough, Seattle Times
Nationwide Testimonials: http://www.thaoslibrary.com/audience
Elizabeth Van Meter
Award winning documentary filmmaker, storyteller, producer and founder of The Purpose Project. Elizabeth’s documentary work has taken her from the Andes Mountains of Peru to the Tohoku region of Japan (Hand in Hand, Lincoln Center 2014). She directed/prod. 40 short films for Gorgeous Entertainment documenting the lives of Japanese Americans. Ms. Van Meter also founded The Purpose Project, an organization searching out individuals who are bringing forth change in their communities, helping them achieve a dream and sharing their stories. She premiered her solo multi-media piece, The Purpose Project: Thao’s Library, at the Cherry Lane Theater, NYC, with versions appearing throughout the US. Elizabeth is a graduate of UNCSA.