The event was held by the War Legacies Project (WLP), US Senate and the Vietnamese Embassy in the US.
Senator Patrick Leahy affirmed he will continue to endorse two countries’ relations, including cooperation to recover war and AO consequences in Vietnam. By mobilising support from the US Senate, he hoped Vietnamese AO victims will receive more attention from the US public.
For his part, Vietnamese Ambassador Pham Quang Vinh thanked Leahy and his colleagues for backing Vietnam and helping Vietnamese war victims.
He also expressed his gratitude to the director, Courtney Marsh, for spending eight years making such a touching documentary, which was nominated for the 88th edition of the Oscars in the short documentary category.
The film conveys a humanitarian message and calls for the US and international organisations to offer more assistances to Vietnamese AO victims, Vinh said.
Meanwhile, Marsh said that the her documentary project was extended from one week to eight years, filming Vietnamese teenagers who were born with birth defects due to Agent Orange.
She pledged to call for further support for the victims and hoped to return to Vietnam soon.
“Chau, beyond the lines” focuses on the life of Le Minh Chau, an AO victim. It depicts the teenager’s struggle in realising his dream to become a professional artist and clothing designer.
Despite being told that his ambitions were unrealistic, Chau was determined to live an independent and productive life.
Nine years ago, Marsh, who was in her final year at university, arrived in Vietnam to make a documentary about street children in Ho Chi Minh City. Later, she was introduced to the Peace Village where AO victims being cared for. After that she decided to change the topic of her documentary.
Chau was no ordinary 15 year-old, forced to walk on his knees after being born with debilitating birth defects that resulted from the lingering effects of the herbicide that was widely used during wars in Vietnam.
Marsh found him to be extraordinary, specifically his persistence in his desire to become an artist.