Thursday, April 19, 2012

Vietnamese director helps local children with heart problems via US NGO  | Look At Vietnam

Vietnamese director helps local children with heart problems via US NGO 

April 20, 2012
Cuong Ngo's "The Journey" will premier on May 25 to raise public awareness about children with cardiac diseases in Vietnam
A hit local director and movie star are making a short film to support a US NGO that helps poor Vietnamese children with cardiac conditions.
Heartbeat Vietnam, an NGO founded by American Robin King Austin three years ago, held a press briefing Monday to announce that award-winning director Cuong Ngo was making a film called "The Journey" starring Ngo Thanh Van, who is also acting as an ambassador for the program.
Tuoi Tre reported that the film’s cast and crew were not receiving payment for the work as it was a charity project.
“I know I have to do something, and as a director, I think about making a movie […] The 30-minute film will be about the journey to take back Vy’s life, and his mother’s,” Ngo said at the briefing in Ho Chi Minh City.
The film’s story resembles in some ways the story of Cao Hung Vy, a child recently saved by Heartbeat Vietnam. Vy and his mother were both at the press conference.
Vy, 21, survived a seven hour surgery in late February, four years after his mother Dinh Thi Thanh began traveling the country looking for treatment for his heart condition.
“My lips are red now” was the first sentence he told Austin on the phone after the operation.
Thanh found the boy as a newborn wheezing in a basket in a canal near her home in the central province of Quang Binh.
“People asked me not to be stupid to take the boy because I was already very poor at the time. But looking at the bruised boy, I just hastily brought him home without thinking much,” said the woman, who has no biological children but has been raising seven orphans. Thanh is sterile and her husband died in 2005.
Heartbeat Vietnam was developed with the AlphaCapital Foundation, which Austin formed with Don Lam, CEO of the AlphaCapital Group.
She came to Vietnam with her husband eight years ago for business, and stopped him from coming back to the US after she found herself drawn into helping children with heart diseases in Vietnam. The interest led her to quit her job to have more time for the kids.
The project has saved around 2,000 children with cardiac diseases in Vietnam, but more than 20,000 children are estimated to still have heart problems.
Cuong Ngo, whose “Ngoc Vien Dong” (Pearls of the Far East) won Best Cinematography and Best Music at the 14th California Independent Film Festival on February 11, said his upcoming film aims to make such startline facts about heart disease more well-known.
In the movie, Ngo Thanh Van plays a mother with a sick daughter.
“Everyone has to go through some journeys to succeed, to overcome difficulties, but not everyone has to go through a journey to find life,” the actor said at the press briefing.
“I won’t hesitate to do anything, even to knock on each door in Vietnam, to help those children,” she said.
The movie will be screened from May 26 to June 1 at cinemas nationwide, after the premier at the White Palace conference hall in Ho Chi Minh City.
All proceeds will be given to Heartbeat Vietnam.
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