Dominic completed his Honors in Directing and Politics in 1999 at Flinders University. In November 1999 he was awarded the R.A. Simpson International Traveling Scholarship to Vietnam, and has a MA in Theatre Arts from Monash University, graduating in 2010. Dominic has worked with Huu Tran, Tony Le Nguyen, and Vietnamese Youth Media as an Assistant Director and performer on Aussie Bia Om, and has also featured in Viet Boys Downunder. He wrote the screenplay and was lead actor in Shrimp, and is now working on his latest project Umbilical. In 2010, he returned to Vietnam to meet up with Vietnamese war adoptees from around the world and record their experiences for a documentary in development.
Why it is important to have Asian Australian participation on or behind the screen?
Asian-Australians from the continent as defined as being Asia is much more diverse than Korean film or HK film or Bollywood. We as media consumers and players cannot allow the mainstream to dictate our bodies, voices, and cultural practices. We also need to be brave in showing the diversity within the ethnic “enclaves” that individual voices and views do differ from the mainstreaming of our own communities.
Can you please tell me a little bit about your short doco Operation Reunite that you screened at AAFFN and why you made it?
I made Operation Reunite to document the reunion of Vietnamese adoptees–35 after the fall of Saigon. I also wanted to show the global diversity of adoptees, to depict them as individuals seeking connection through a shared happening of adoption transnationally and an event Operation Babylift, and how they in various ways engage with Vietnam.
What are you working on now/next?
ReDEFINANT is a three year performance project by and for Melbourne and rural based asylum seekers and refugees. This includes in the third year (fingers crossed) a video media production program for refugees. It aims to develop skills in web casting, shorts, and reporting, so that members can actively engage in the media, bringing real diversity to Australia.
What’s your impression of the Asian Australian Film Forum and Network?
I believe it was a really great initiative. At the AAFFN I met people I never knew of. I saw a wide variety of films and found that there were more people in the AA film business than I imagined. It also showed that many artists work in sub-isolation, meaning we develop work by ourselves and then come together for the collaborative process of film making. It begs a question, is this a good process? Or would a united national AA production house be a better way to collaborate and secure funding for projects?
Where do you think the AAFFN should head to next?
AAFFN should hold peer review brain storming screenings where actors, film makers, producers and script writers can discuss form, direction and value to audiences on material still in development. I think we could try to tap into community TV media form the various Asian communities (Channel 31′s Pinoy TV) and film students from VCA. AAFFN should examine the value of cross pollination of media and arts where video artists/live performing artists can also join in the conversations.