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Erie County Smile

Directed by Van Tran Nguyen

“Erie County Smile” is a satirical short film which takes you on a guilt trip as Van dodges phone calls from her mother while parodying “Paris By Night” (PBN), a popular Vietnamese-language variety show. Van, who grew up working in her family’s nail salon, dedicates this film to the children of immigrants who spent their childhoods behind doors labeled “employees only”.

Directed by Van Tran Nguyen
Produced by Van Tran Nguyen and Alex Derwick

Director’s Bio: Van Tran Nguyen (she/her) is a Vietnamese American visual artist, filmmaker, and scholar. Her first short film, “Erie County Smile” released in 2021 and is available for public access via the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS). Her first full-length feature film, The Motherload, will be released in the winter of 2023. Tran Nguyen earned her doctorate in the Philosophy of Electronic Art at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York. She is currently the Maya Brin Institute for New Performance and Technology Visiting Assistant Professor at the University of Maryland, College Park. Dr. Tran Nguyen teaches courses in digital filmmaking, new media, the Asian American diaspora, and its many representations.

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Inside Jokes

Inside jokes connect us to the people we love the most, even if they may sometimes cause us to laugh when we shouldn’t. By tackling topics such as caring for an aging loved one, intergenerational culture clash, and the myriad emotions brought on by spending time in our own heads, these films invite you to find humor within the ebb and flow of life.