Agent Orange documentary competes at New York film fest

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The poster of The Tale of An Phuc House, Vietnam/Canada documentary film on Vietnamese Agent Orange/dioxin victims, which will be screened at the New York City International Film Festival on June 17

A documentary film on Vietnamese Agent Orange/dioxin (AO) victims will compete for a prize at the New York City International Film Festival (NYCIFF) 2013, held June 13-20. 

The Tale of An Phuc House, co-produced by Canada's Babel Entertainment in Association and Vietnam's Créa TV, is one of five documentaries nominated for NYCIFF's Best Feature Documentary Film, NYCIFF organizers announced.

The 91-minute film, directed, scripted and shot by Canadian director Ivan Tankushev, is a "powerful and extraordinary" glimpse into the every day lives of 20 disabled young adults - third generation victims of Agent Orange, which was sprayed by American forces during the Vietnam War in the 1960s-1970s.

All of them, who are being cared for at the An Phuc House in Ho Chi Minh City, live their lives with beauty, dignity and pride despite their physical limitations. The house was founded in 2006 by a man named Quang with the intention to create jobs and find a roof for boys and girls physically disabled by Agent Orange.

Over the past six years Mr. Quang, their adopted father, has dedicated his everyday life to these young adults, helping them respect themselves and become financially independent.

Tankushev, whose wife is Vietnamese, said he found out about this story by chance.

The decision to make a film about them came to him after he spent time visiting the residents of An Phuc House and talking with their parents, who live in different localities across Vietnam.

The shooting took over a year from 2011 to March 2012.

Tankushev said he will donate all proceeds from the film to An Phuc as well as orphanages in Ho Chi Minh City.

From 1961-1971, the US military sprayed some 100 million liters of herbicides, of which 65 percent was Agent Orange a toxic chemical herbicide and defoliant that contained 386 kilograms of dioxin - over the Central Highlands, central and southern Vietnam, according to figures from the War Remnants Museum in Ho Chi Minh City.

As a result, up to 4-8 million Vietnamese people were exposed to AO and the dioxin it contained. Many of the victims have died, while millions of their descendants are living with deformities and diseases due.

The Tale of An Phuc House is set to be screened at the festival at 6 p.m. on June 17.

The four other documentary contenders are two US films Girl Rising and Jihad in America: Grand Deception; a UK film, The Gun, the Cake & the Butterfly; and German-Israel film My German Children.

The NYCIFF was founded to discover new and talented filmmakers and to promote established ones from the United States and around the world.

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