Read the Vietnamese translation here

October 25, 2021 (Santa Ana, CA) –  The Viet Film Fest 2021 Awards Ceremony will take place virtually for the first time ever on Thursday, October 28th at 6 p.m. PST. and will be available to watch on and YouTube.

RAYA AND THE LAST DRAGON – Kelly Marie Tran is pictured wearing a dress (áo dài), designed by Thai Nguyen. Photo courtesy of Disney. © 2021 Disney. All Rights Reserved.

Viet Film Fest is proud to present the Inspiration Award to actress and producer Kelly Marie Tran. As a child of Vietnamese refugees, Tran overcame many obstacles to achieve outstanding recognition and opportunity in the film industry. She made headlines for her role as Rose Tico in Star Wars: Episode VIII – The Last Jedi (2017) and Star Wars: Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker (2019), as the first Asian American woman in a lead role for the film franchise. Tran also voiced Raya, Walt Disney Animation Studios’ first Southeast Asian heroine in Raya and the Last Dragon (2021). Her documentary Lily Topples the World (2021) received Best Documentary Award at the South by Southwest (SXSW) 2021 Film Festival. Prior to Kelly Marie Tran, the only other recipient of Viet Film Fest’s Inspiration Award was Tran Anh Hung, director of Mùi Đu Đủ Xanh (The Scent of Green Papaya) (1994) in 2013.

The Grand Jury has decided the Trống Đồng Award for Best Short, Best Actress, Best Actor, and Trống Đồng Award for Best Feature. This year’s Grand Jury includes critically acclaimed actress Kieu Chinh (The Joy Luck Club, NCIS), commercially successful director Charlie Nguyen (The Rebel (Dòng Máu Anh Hùng), Fool for Love (Để Mai Tính) and industry-leading film producer Naja Pham Lockwood (76 Days, Gook, Try Harder!). The Curatorial and Executive Committees will also present the Spotlight Award, reserved for films that highlight meaningful themes or burgeoning filmmaker(s). The nominations follow below: 

Nominees for the Grand Jury Trống Đồng Award for Best Short

  • Malabar dir. Maximilian Badier Rosenthal (France)
  • The Morning Passing on El Cajón Boulevard dir. Quyen Nguyen-Le (USA)
  • No Crying at the Dinner Table dir. Carol Nguyen (Canada)
  • Raspberry dir. Julian Doan (USA)
  • SummerWinterSummer dir. Thy Tran (USA)

Nominees for the Best Actress Award

  • Ngân Chi, Bố Già (Dad, I’m Sorry) (Vietnam)
  • Jacky Lai, Good News (Canada)
  • Carina Hoang, Hold Up (Australia)
  • Hồ Thu Anh, Sài Gòn Trong Cơn Mưa (Saigon in the Rain) (Vietnam)
  • Hồng Đào, Thưa Mẹ Con Đi (Goodbye Mother) (Vietnam)

Viet Film Fest will conclude with Walt Disney Animation Studios Raya and the Last Dragon

Nominees for the Best Actor Award 

  • Ivan Mok, Blue Suit (USA)
  • Trấn Thành, Bố Già (Dad, I’m Sorry) (Vietnam)
  • Hiệp Trần Nghĩa, Malabar (France)
  • Paul Yen, Recovery (USA) 
  • Bê Trần, Trái Tim Quái Vật (The Instrument of Murder) (Vietnam)

Nominees for the Grand Jury Trống Đồng Award for Best Feature

  • Be Water dir. Bao Nguyen (USA) 
  • Bố Già (Dad, I’m Sorry) dir. Tran Thanh and Vu Ngoc Dang (Vietnam) 
  • Mắt Biếc (Dreamy Eyes) dir. Victor Vu (Vietnam)
  • The Nodey Process dir. Maël Le-Hurand and Vincent Nguyen (France) 
  • Thưa Mẹ Con Đi (Goodbye Mother) dir. Trinh Dinh Le Minh (Vietnam)

Viet Film Fest will conclude with Walt Disney Animation Studios Raya and the Last Dragon on Saturday, October 30th at 5p.m. PST at The Frida Cinema in Santa Ana, CA. This Free Community Day Screening will be open to all. In the spirit of Halloween, costumes are encouraged. Learn more at

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. For over a decade, the festival has attracted thousands of national and international attention for its stunning showcase of shorts and features submitted from all over the world. As the hub of the Vietnamese movie industry, the festival hosts networking opportunities with prominent directors, media experts, and producers, including Tran Anh Hung (The Scent of Green Papaya), Tony Bui (Three Seasons), Ham Tran (Journey from the Fall), Victor Vu (Yellow Flowers on the Green Grass), Le Van Kiet (Furie), and Charlie Nguyen (The Rebel).

October 15-30, 2021
Program Schedule and Tickets:
Follow @vietfilmfest on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube

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. Learn more at or join @vaalacommunity on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube.

Viet Film Fest 2021 Assets:
Press/Media Accreditation
Logo & Artwork
Features and Community Screening Film Stills
Official Fest Trailer 

Viet Film Fest 2021 Press Contact:
Minh Pham
Public Relations Manager 

Karen Wood
Public Relations Manager 

Categories: Festival News


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