Written by: Karl Moore
There are countless art festivals with a powerful mission at their core, but the Social Impact Film and Art Festival (SIFA Festival), co-founded by Thi Be Nguyen and Sean St. John is unique in its desire to amplify important social causes through all artistic media. Inspired by the success of activist art decrying injustices around the world, the festival aims to highlight art from around the world that is making a difference.
Nguyen is herself a socially-engaged creator. Her first documentary, released in 2016, was a recognition of her parents’ sacrifices and courage throughout her life. As Vietnamese nationals living in Laos, they attempted to flee the region with their three young children on two separate occasions, eventually succeeding in reaching Thailand by boat. After multiple months spent in refugee camps, the family received word that they had been sponsored to immigrate to Canada. By documenting the path of resilience of over 26 other refugees, Nguyen came to understand the power of collective storytelling through art. The experience prompted her to produce her second documentary, Coming Home, which sheds light on the impact of the French colonization of Vietnam.
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