by Evan Hatch
Documentarian Mariah Dunn Kramer found her calling early in film making through a fortuitous turn of events. In 2013, her participation through the “Smithsonian Young Historians, Living Histories” program led Kramer to conduct intensive oral history work with with Greensboro’s Montagnard youth. The experience only marked the beginning of this venture.
This Is My Home Now documents the lives of four Montagnard youths whose families have come to America in the past decade from Asia. They live in two worlds—that of their parents and grandparents, who lived in the highlands of Viet Nam but fled from government persecution for their Christian religion and desire for autonomy—and one of constant learning and adaptation to be Americans in North Carolina.
The half-hour program also explores how Montagnards (a French colonial reference to “mountain people”) allied with U.S. Army Special Forces in the 1960’s and their coming to the safety of America starting in the 1980’s and continuing until recently. The transition is seen through the challenging lives of the four teens’ families, and viewers learn there are more Montagnards in North Carolina –an estimated population nearing 20,000–than anywhere outside of Asia.
You can see the trailer here:
Questions of self-identity, concerns about losing their cultural heritage, the role faith plays in forging ahead on a new life, and the remarkable kindness and support of those who are helping these new Americans to succeed make for a compelling story whose ending is still being created.
Presently Kramer works as a Film Studies instructor at UNC-Wilmington. She and her co-producers Siera Schubach and Dean MacLeod, seek opportunities and venues to show the 30-minute film at campuses and museums throughout North Carolina, and to mediate discussion panels with the film’s subjects, filmmakers and producers.
Upcoming events include:
Oct. 14th 12-1pm NC Museum of History “History a la Carte”
Oct. 24th 12pm Guilford College
For more information or to schedule an event, Kramer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org