Vu Pham is a Portland based writer, director, producer, and actor. He is a refugee from Vietnam whose work has been significantly influenced by personal and historical trauma, existential philosophy, and transitory life on the fringes. He has won grants from the Regional Arts and Culture Council, been showcased by the NW Film Center and the Portland Institute of Contemporary Art, and was recently nominated for the Sundance Institute’s Asian American Feature Film Fellowship. His work and his story have been featured by OPB, The Oregonian, Willamette Week, and DiaCritics. His films have played in such festivals as the Portland International Film Festival, San Diego Asian Film Festival, and Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival. As an actor he has had the honor of working with actors Harrison Ford, Brendan Frasier, Jonathan Groff, and Cori Stoll. Vu considers the following acts to be an accurate summation of his existence: sleeping, dreaming, building towards his ideals, destroying that which was built, and rebuilding.

The interview begins with Vu Pham summarizing his immigration from Vietnam to the United States and explaining what it was like growing up in Aloha, Oregon as well as other suburbs outside of Portland. Unfortunately, Pham’s mother passed away two years after they arrived in Portland. From that point on, Pham was left in the care of his uncle, but as he remembers, he mostly raised himself. Pham discusses learning English, attending school, and feeling disconnected from the Vietnamese community in Portland. He explains that in high school he decided to leave his uncle’s house and lived homeless for a few months before being taken in by a mentor. From there, Pham explains the path his life took after high school and how he became involved in filmmaking. Pham spends some time describing his films, their themes, and his inspirations.