Mai's America

When a student leaves cHanoi for an exchange program in Mississippi, her ideas about freedom, America, Vietnam, and herself are thrown into question.

Mais america 01
POV, Global Voices
Premiere Date
August 6, 2002
90 minutes
Funding Initiative
Open Call
  • Award laurels-r Created with Sketch.
    2002 South by Southwest Film Festival (SXSW)-Audience Award
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    2002 San Francisco International Film Festival-Certificate of Merit, Biography
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    2002 Northampton Film Festival-Best Documentary
  • Award laurels-r Created with Sketch.
    2002 Memphis Independent Film Festival -Best Documentary
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    2002 International Documentary Association (IDA)-Distinguished Achievement Award
  • Award laurels-r Created with Sketch.
    2003 International Documentary Association (IDA)-Distinguished Documentary Achievement Awards, Feature Competition
  • Producer

    Marlo Poras

    Marlo Poras began her film career as an apprentice to Thelma Schoonmaker at Martin Scorcese's Cappa productions and worked in the editing room on independent features. Later, she was living in Vietnam, producing HIV/AIDS education films when she was inspired to make Mai's America, her first film. Mai's America aired on P.O.V. to much critical acclaim, Show more winning numerous awards, including Best Feature Documentary from the IDA. Marlo's next film, Run Granny Run, traveled to dozens of festivals and aired on HBO. Marlo is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship. Show less

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    The Film

    A spunky Vietnamese teenager named Mai gets the chance of a lifetime — to study in the United States. Expecting Hollywood, she instead lands in rural Mississippi, a crazy quilt of self-proclaimed rednecks, cliquish teenagers, South Vietnamese exiles, and transvestite soulmates. As she tries to fit in and to make ends meet, Mai discovers that America is both less and far more than she bargained for. From cosmopolitan Hanoi to the heart of the Deep South, Mai’s unforgettable journey offers an outsider’s glimpse inside America.