Modern Vietnamese food, film and music filled the Prairie Emporium in southeast Calgary Saturday at the first-ever Vietnam Now festival.
Linh Phan, founder of Hidden Saigon and the Vietnam Now festival, said it’s an event aimed at showcasing a different side of Vietnam and connecting with modern Vietnamese identity.
She adds that the event was also a space and opportunity to meet and connect with the larger community of Vietnamese people in Calgary.
“What this event will do is to create a safe space for people to meet each other,” said Phan. “It’s an immigrant story that all immigrants go through, all refugees go through. We try to connect and foster community and relationships.”
Phan said part of the festival included a panel discussing themes of identity, and many of the films screened also followed the theme of what it means to be Vietnamese, with films from Vietnam and Canada.
“Because we don’t have to struggle to survive like our parents’ generation, I think we do more introspective struggling,” Phan said. “You’re trying to figure out who you are, how to balance those two identities.
“These events are here to have the conversation and the dialogue.”
This year is the first time Vietnam Now has come to Canada and Calgary. Next year, Phan said she hopes to make it a full tour of the country.
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