Private Project

Love, Laugh, Doom, Tears

Filmmaker Nhung Nguyen turns camera on herself to take us through her dating journey as a single, 30-year-old Vietnamese woman coming to Los Angeles (and the US) for the first time. It starts with high hopes and excitement but takes a spiral downward turn when she gives in to the sexting game of the man she loves.

  • Nhung Thi Cam Nguyen
  • Nhung Thi Cam Nguyen
  • Nhung Thi Cam Nguyen
  • Nhung Thi Cam Nguyen
    Key Cast
  • Project Type:
    Documentary, Experimental, Short, Student
  • Genres:
  • Runtime:
    25 minutes
  • Completion Date:
    July 31, 2021
  • Production Budget:
    5,000 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    United States
  • Language:
    English, Vietnamese
  • Shooting Format:
    Digital, 35mm
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
    Yes - UCLA
  • Seattle Asian American Film Festival (SAAFF)
    United States
    March 14, 2022
    North America Screening
    Official Selection
  • UCLA Screening
    Los Angeles
    United States
    December 15, 2021
    Official Selection
  • Culver City Film Festival
    Los Angeles, CA
    United States
    December 3, 2021
    World Premiere
    Special Filmmaker Award
Director Biography - Nhung Thi Cam Nguyen

Born in the Mekong Delta, Vietnam, in 1989, three years after the Doi Moi, Nhung Nguyen grew up with her curiosity about the change in women's roles around her experience. From serving the men in the army, now, it was the first time they came out to society to work. Even though she is a fan of cinema and traditional Vietnamese soap operas, she never thought of being a filmmaker. She worked in Advertising for ten years as a copywriter before actually experiencing the urgent call of telling true stories of the women she knew since her childhood. Coming to the U.S in 2019 to pursue an MFA in Documentary Directing at UCLA, she starts expanding her mind and walking out of her comfort zone to look more profound and brutally honest into female sexuality and the pain of being a woman of color. What is the individual's reality versus the stereotype that pop culture has depicted? In her latest personal experimental documentary, she bears her soul and body. She shares her voice (both in the singing and narration) to provide us with a visceral experience thanks to the raw emotions and unfiltered images.

While being disruptive in her work, Nhung maintains an almost dull life. You can catch her at the swimming pool, trying to swim without the floating belt attached against her waist.

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Director Statement

There are days I wake up only to want to go back to bed, asking myself if I can skip shooting filming a particular scene of this movie.
Or even there is a movie to be made. Who is this film for?
Who is going to watch this?
My house is in a constant mess, just like my mind and the production of this film. One scene jumps on top of the order; a new scene comes up on the fly that I don't even know where to put it into the whole story.
The fact that I have to shoot this on my own adds another layer of mental and physical labor: the eagerness of pulling something off in front of the camera dies as I sweat with equipment to get a perfect shot.
At first, I set out, thinking that I will make this film on behalf of other women who are sexual assault survivors, especially the ones who share the same cultural background and a current situation as me.
They may not have the platform to express the traumatic experience they got
After a few initial vital scenes, I face a bigger question: what makes this film different than others touching on the same topic?
Of course, some friends and colleagues know and care for me, but if I want this film to go as far as possible, I have to face the truth: Why do people care?
I do not make this film to ask for sympathy.
I do not make this film to relive the trauma nor justify my responsibility to let this happen to me. No, this is not self-blame, but a lesson learned so I can make better choices in the future.
I do not make this film to be a man-hater. I have been supported by many kind people out there, of all genders, to help me get through this.
After many chaotic moments of struggling, self-reflecting, and honestly, a bunch of therapy, I realize that I made this film First and Foremost for myself.
For myself, as a filmmaker who has the gut to touch upon a highly complex subject matter
For myself as a subject and a performer to channel my pains into action
For myself as a fearless woman who keeps wondering what will wait for me if I put myself out there, bare my soul and body on the big screen for people to watch, and say what they want to say about what I did and said.
I tried to sleep this film away. I tried so many times to run away from it, having a plan B to shoot something else, procrastinate and even torture the ones I love when I have to go through this
After all, the only reason that makes me want to get up in the morning (or the middle of the night) to shoot is the burning desire to tell my truth. To own the narrative. To heal. To move on. To be empowered. To allow myself to be whoever I want to be, I used to prohibit myself from being that ugly, angry, and stupid.
I don't know how many ppl will watch this, or go through the end of this, and if they walk away, telling themselves, "This is just another rape movie."
If they do, it's no big deal.
But if they do sit through it and at least remember one thing I said and did, I think I have made a good friend.
Because this is one of the most personal things I ever did in my life.
Because everything I did in life up until this point is for me to make this happen.