September 27, 2011, 7:00 P.M.

The Ray Stark Family Theatre, SCA 108, George Lucas Building, USC School of Cinematic Arts Complex, 900 W. 34th Street, Los Angeles, CA 90007

Outside the Box [Office], the Asian American Cinema Association and Wave Releasing invite you and a guest to a special preview screening of

Saigon Electric

Written/Directed/Produced by Stephane Gauger

Followed by a Q&A with Stephane Gauger

7:00 P.M. on Tuesday, September 27th, 2011

The Ray Stark Family Theatre

George Lucas Building, SCA 108
900 W. 34th Street, Los Angeles, CA 90007


Opens in U.S. select cities on Friday, October 7th

About Saigon Electric

MAI, a traditional ribbon dancer from the countryside, arrives to the big city of Saigon in hopes of being admitted to the national dance academy. She rents a tiny room in a building from a reclusive music PROFESSOR and gets a job at a fast food joint. After she falls victim to her inner fears and fails her auditions, she finds friendship with the rebellious KIM, a hip-hop dancer from a local crew SAIGON FRESH. Mai enters their lives as the crew trains at the community center with their own dreams: to compete internationally in South Korea. To do so, they have to beat national champs North Killaz from Hanoi. Soon enough, Kim moves in with Mai and the two teens become kindred spirits, working together at the SAMSUNG store as promo girls. Mai’s landlord, the Professor, becomes concerned with Mai hanging out with her new friend, but Mai finds a family with the dance crew, until the one night Kim takes on her rival B-girl from the North crew at an underground battle. Kim loses to the battle and embarrasses her crew. DO-BOY, Saigon Fresh’s team captain, scolds Kim and she defiantly quits the team.

HANDSOME HAI enters the picture. A rich kid from a powerful family, he takes a liking to the streetsmart Kim. Kim brushes him off at first, not remotely wanting anything to do with a “Richie”, but soon Hai wins her over with his charm and dreams of a better future, whisking her away to the beach of Vung Tau. Mai’s friendship with Kim becomes strained as Kim grows infatuated with Hai, and Mai finds solace with Saigon Fresh captain Do-Boy. Mai and Do-Boy grow closer together as they spend time at the community center, where he teaches her the meaning of hip hop and she teaches him the beauty of traditional ribbon dance. She begins to teach ribbon dance at the center to young girls while the crew train for the big show without until bad news strikes. MR. LE, a hotel developer, informs the crew that the community center will be torn down to make room for a large hotel. Distraught, the kids plead to the city officials who inform them that they have no choice but to close down the center.

Meanwhile on the beach, Hai and Kim live their fairy tale romance. He professes his love for Kim and promises that he will take her to England with him where he’ll study abroad. Kim meets Hai’s powerful father under the pretense that she’s from a respected family, but the man sees right through her. He forbids her from seeing Hai and holding back his son’s future and Kim’s world quickly crumbles. After Kim self-destructs from drugs at a night club, Mai and Doboy rescue her and bring her to the Professor’s home asking for help. The Professor nurses her back to health, and Kim humbles herself and asks to rejoin the team. The crew welcome her back with open arms as she finds comfort again on the dance floor. As Saigon Fresh trains for the upcoming big competition against the North crew, Mai sees her spirits ignited as she renews her training for ribbon dance, and the Professor finds new inspiration to compose his opera.

Will Hai resurface and try to win back the heart of Kim? Will Mai gather up the courage to audition again for the dance academy. Will the underdogs Saigon Fresh find a way to keep their beloved community center and battle out a victory over the North Killaz at the big competition? Saigon Electric is a movie that addresses the rites of passage of young adults in modern day Vietnam, and their power to dream.

35mm print provided courtesy of Wave Releasing. Not rated. In Vietnamese, with English subtitles. Running time: 106 minutes.

To learn more about the film, click here.

To view the trailer on YouTube, click here.


About the Guest


Born in Saigon, Vietnam and raised in Orange County, California, Mr. Gauger received a bachelor arts degree in theatre and French literature at Cal State Fullerton. Mr. Gauger subsequently worked in the camera and lighting departments on independent films in the U.S. and Southeast Asia.

His feature directing debut, OWL AND THE SPARROW, shot on location in Ho Chi Minh city, premiered at the Rotterdam Film Festival 2007 and has gone on to win over fifteen awards at international festivals, including the audience award at the Los Angeles Film Festival, the emerging filmmaker award at the Denver Film Festival, and the best narrative feature at the San Francisco Intl. Asian American Festival. At the 2009 Golden Kite Awards in Hanoi, Owl and the Sparrow received the critic choice award as well as the best foreign co-production award. Mr. Gauger was featured in Filmmaker Magazine’s 25 new faces of 2007. He was also nominated for breakthrough director at the Gotham Awards in New York City and the John Cassavetes award at Independent Spirit Awards. His music documentary VIETNAM OVERTURES, about a music exchange program between Norway and the music institutions of Vietnam, premiered at the 2008 Hawaii International Film Festival.

Director's Statement

In my wish of telling universal stories with a global outlook and a distinctly Vietnamese point of view, the seeds of Saigon Electric were planted. As the population of Vietnam grows younger and younger, youth culture is seeping onto the streets of Vietnam. Hip hop and graffiti artists are alive in today’s rapidly modernized culture. As our production team researched the best underground talent in Vietnam, we found much support from the hip hop community. Hundreds of young dancers came to audition for the chance to be captured on film, and I believe we were very fortunate in the ones selected to showcase their world of expression. My wish is to give the teenagers a voice and present to an international audience a fresh new look at the dreams and struggles of Asian youth.

-    Stephane Gauger

About Outside the Box [Office]

Outside the Box [Office] is a weekly showcase for upcoming releases highlighting world cinema, documentary and independent film titles. Recognizing a need for greater diversity on campus, the series will draw from around the globe to present movies that may challenge, inspire or simply entertain. The weekly screenings will be on Wednesday and Sunday nights (and other select dates, as they arise) in the School of Cinematic Arts Complex, George Lucas Building.

To view the calendar of screenings, click here.

Check-In & Reservations

This screening is free of charge and open to the general public. Please bring a photo ID or print out of your reservation confirmation, which will automatically be sent to your e-mail account upon successfully making an RSVP through this website. Doors will open at 6:30 P.M.


The USC School of Cinematic Arts is located at 900 W. 34th St., Los Angeles, CA 90007. Parking passes may be purchased for $8.00 at USC Entrance Gate #5, located at the intersection of W. Jefferson Blvd. & McClintock Avenue. We recommend parking in outdoor Lot M or V, or Parking Structure D, at the far end of 34th Street. Please note that Parking Structure D cannot accommodate tall vehicles such as SUVs. Metered street parking is also available along Jefferson Blvd.

Contact Information

Name: Alessandro Ago
Phone: 213.740.2330