Call for Submissions begin early as Viet Film Fest organizers prepare for its 20th anniversary

January 4, 2023 — Orange County, CA — The Vietnamese Arts and Letters Association (VAALA) is proud to announce that Viet Film Fest will return September 30 through October 15, 2023 for its 20th year anniversary! Founded in 2003 by VAALA members, Ysa Le and Tram Le, Viet Film Fest is the largest international festival promoting Vietnamese culture, stories, and artists through film. In its earliest beginnings, there were not enough films to hold the festival annually, so organizers decided on a bi-annual format until 2014. Then, as the filmmaking community continued to grow all over the world, Viet Film Fest began to hold annual festivals, receiving from 60 to 100 submissions each year from all over the world such as Vietnam, Canada, France, Israel, Germany, Australia, and more. Viet Film Fest 2023 will continue the legacy of showing the best works from, by, or about the Vietnamese community. 

For over two decades, Viet Film Fest has drawn attention and acclaim for being the cultural hub for the Vietnamese movie industry. Prominent industry members including Ham Tran (Journey from the Fall and Maika: The Girl from Another Galaxy), Tran Anh Hung (The Scent of Green Papaya), Trinh T. Minh-ha (Surname Viet Given Name Nam, and What About China?) Charlie Nguyen (The Rebel), Leon Le (Song Lang), and Victor Vu (Yellow Flowers on the Green Grass)  have all been notable filmmakers of the Viet Film Fest community. In addition, Viet FIlm Fest has awarded the talent of actors such as Kieu Chinh and Kelly Marie Tran. 

VAALA has also organized community screenings for prominent movies that promote the AAPI experience like Everything, Everywhere All at Once, Bao Nguyen’s Be Water, and Disney Animation Studio’s Raya and the Last Dragon, whose screenplay was written by Qui Nguyen and Adele Lim. The nonprofit organization has received grants from organizations like the California Arts Council and Sundance Institute’s Uprise Grant Fund for its impact and representation in the arts and film communities. VAALA has also taught emerging filmmaking classes through its Youth in Motion program, which teaches youth ages 16-26 the basics of filmmaking like screenwriting, editing, and cinematography. This program has mentored and developed up-and-coming filmmakers such as Quyên Nguyên-Lê and Michi Que Doan. Key community partners of Viet Film Fest over the years include Visual Communications, San Diego Asian Film Festival, and Hawaii International Film Festival, CAPE (Coalition of Asian Pacifics in Entertainment), and Gold House.

“It has been a thrilling and rewarding experience to watch filmmakers continue to produce stories and artworks that really speak to the unique experiences of the Vietnamese diaspora. Some of the films that have passed through our festival have even been nominated for the Academy Awards! We’ve come to witness that no matter how near or far, Vietnamese people’s stories connect across the world. We are proud of the curatorial process that we’ve developed over the years to include an industry expert, academic, and filmmaker, as well as creating an experience that continues to promote the arts and filmmaking through quickly changing times,” says Ysa Le, Executive Director of VAALA.

Viet Film Fest 2023 will be returning in-person in Orange County, California, and virtual screenings will be available internationally (pending geolocation permissions from filmmakers) to increase accessibility for audiences to watch the films, experiences, and stories about the Vietnamese community. Viet Film Fest will continue to promote networking opportunities and enriching special events for the Vietnamese community and its intersections with organizing team members Tony Nguyen, Eric Nong, and Tran Lee.

CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS: Viet Film Fest is looking for creative works from Vietnamese filmmakers and/or those that speak to the Vietnamese experience for our 2023 film festival. Entry forms can be filled out online at The submission deadline is April 15, 2023 with an Early Bird deadline of March 25, 2023.

About Viet Film Fest

Viet Film Fest was created in 2003 by the Vietnamese American Arts & Letters Association (VAALA), becoming its largest program. As the largest international Vietnamese film festival of its kind in the world, Viet Film Fest showcases the best creative work by and about Vietnamese people. Through the universal language of film, Viet Film Fest brings together multiple perspectives to expand the scope and horizons of Vietnamese cinema. Our award-winning films have been screened in numerous cities and countries


When: September 30 through October 15, 2023


Social Media: @VietFilmFest Facebook | Instagram | Twitter

About Vietnamese American Arts And Letters Association

Founded in 1991, the Vietnamese American Arts & Letters Association (VAALA) is a community-based, 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that seeks to connect and enrich communities through Vietnamese arts and culture. Join VAALA on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube.


Corey Linh Baugher

VAALA Communications Specialist

Minh Phạm

Viet Film Fest Public Relations Manager

Categories: Festival News


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