Hmong film festival at Metropolitan State University

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The second annual Qhia Dab Neeg (Hmong storytelling) film festival will be offered at Metropolitan State University on May 13 and 14. Films and videos about Hmong culture, history, perspectives and issues will be shown in Founders Hall Auditorium, located at Metropolitan State’s East Side campus. Twenty-five submitted films were produced, directed, acted in or worked on by Hmong or include Hmong themes and storylines, said Kao Choua Vue, the festival’s creator and co-coordinator.

“Our goal for the festival is to honor Hmong storytellers and stories about Hmong,” said Vue, a Hmong documentary filmmaker who lives on the East Side. “We also hope the films and videos help bridge the generation gap between older and younger Hmong and show Hmong history, communities and cultural and other issues. We invite and encourage non-Hmong to attend and
learn more about Hmong in the United States and elsewhere.”

Metropolitan State is excited about co-sponsoring the event, because it represents another way to connect with the community, which has long been integral to the university’s mission, said Evelyn Rolloff, associate director of Metropolitan State’s Center for Community-Based Learning.

“It’s an example of our efforts to highlight the rich diversity in the community,” said Rolloff. “The festival provides opportunities for our students to submit films or participate in other ways. Students and members of the community who attend will also have a chance to learn more about Hmong culture, history and view contemporary photography and art.”

Vue observed that Metropolitan State offers a good venue for the festival because of its East Side location, where many Hmong live. She also noted that many students of color, including Hmong, attend the university.

Sue K. Hammersmith, Metropolitan State president, will welcome attendees on the first day of the festival, which is free and open to the public. Two university alums have submitted films for the festival.

The submitted films and videos, all in English or with English subtitles, range in length from two minutes to 80 minutes. Most of the films involve Hmong Minnesotans, but there are also submissions from Wisconsin, California and even Taiwan. Winners will be selected from three competitive categories. The event, which will also feature a panel discussion, is being presented by In Progress, a Saint Paul nonprofit whose mission includes promoting diversity through digital media, videos, photography, music and other media. Among the organizations offering funding or in-kind contributions are Metropolitan State, the Minnesota State Arts Board, Compas, and Clean Water, Land and Legacy.

For more information about the film festival, please contact Kao Choua Vue at 651-890-6506 or vue.green@gmail.com.

Harvey Meyer is an Academic Writer/Editor at Metropolitan State.

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