Cinema Little Saigon brings free films to City Heights

Pacific Arts Movement is showing three Vietnamese-American films at Hoover High School that recall the fall of Saigon. All film screenings are free.

Pacific Arts Movement is showing three Vietnamese-American films at Hoover High School that recall the fall of Saigon. All film screenings are free.

On April 30, 1975, the largest wave of refugees in San Diego County’s history arrived from Vietnam as the result of the fall of Saigon. Since then, San Diego has become home to one of the largest Vietnamese-American communities in the country. City Heights today is a hub of that community, with many Vietnamese-American businesses and civic groups contributing to the diversity and vibrancy of the neighborhood, which includes a Little Saigon district on El Cajon Boulevard.

In commemoration of the fall of Saigon’s 40th anniversary, Pacific Arts Movement invites the public to free showings of Vietnamese-American films in City Heights on Friday, April 24, and Saturday, April 25, at Hoover High School. The films are part of a program called “Cinema Little Saigon,” and will be presented with support from Price Philanthropies, Little Saigon Foundation, El Cajon Boulevard Association, City Heights Town Council, Mid-City CAN, and the California Endowment. Pacific Arts Movement is the presenter of the annual San Diego Asian Film Festival.

6:30 p.m. Friday, April 24
OH SAIGON (57 minutes)
In this powerful, personal documentary, director Doan Hoang turns the camera on her family, uncovering decades of suppressed memories. “Oh, Saigon” follows the family as they visit Vietnam for the first time in 20 years to face its divided past and heal the wounds of the Vietnam War.

4 p.m. Saturday, April 24
The Vietnamese refugee story gets a humorous spin by way of this culture-clash family comedy courtesy of actor-director-writer Chi Muoi Lo. Since arriving in the United States as children, Vietnamese siblings Mai and Dwayne were raised by a black couple and 20 years later have found happiness in love and family. But when Mai locates their long-lost mother in Vietnam, the multi-racial family gets thrown into disarray, with comic results.

6:30 p.m. Saturday, April 24
Based on the collective memories of refugees who experienced the fall of Saigon, “Journey from the Fall” is an epic drama that follows the 20-year story of a family separated: a wife, son, and mother sent off on a boat, and a husband left behind to survive a Communist re-education camp. The film bridges Vietnam and the United States with a sweeping sense of history and culture and, more impressively, with the bottled emotions of a generation displaced.

All films will screen at Hoover High School’s auditorium, with seating on a first-come, first-served basis. Additional films will screen April 16-25 at the UltraStar Cinemas Mission Valley-Hazard Center as part of the Pacific Arts Movement’s San Diego Asian Film Festival Spring Showcase.

To learn more about these films or watch the trailers, go to Pacific Arts Movement’s website at or email or call (619) 400-5911.