MN Hmong filmmakers' 'Bitterroot' to premiere at Tribeca Film Festival

In the film, "Bitterroot", the Hmong American experience takes center stage. But the movie is also shining a light on Southeast Asian filmmakers here in the Twin Cities.

"I think that's the most exciting part is sharing our narrative of what we've been working on for the last two years," said one of the film's producers, Yeej.

The film follows the journey of a middle-aged man who is reeling from a failed marriage, as he seeks a new perspective while caring for his aging mother.

The story is set in Montana, but the lead actor, Wa Yang, is from Minnesota, as are two of the producers and a handful of crew members.

"I'm born and raised in the Twin Cities. So my lived experience as a Minnesotan versus as a Missoula person, it's very different, but it's very much the same," said producer Kazua Melissa Vang.

Kazua Melissa Vang and Yeej (FOX 9)

Both Vang and Yeej say they both wanted to be a part of the project because it depicts a fictional story from the Hmong diaspora that is rarely seen on screen. The movie was shot in Missoula in 2022, but it will have its world premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York in a couple of weeks.

"It's exciting. It's quite a milestone. This is the first time that a Hmong American film has made it to a larger film festival," said Yeej.

The filmmakers consulted with the Hmong community both in Missoula and Minnesota to bring their labor of love to fruition.

They hope this is just the beginning of sharing the stories of Hmong Americans with the rest of the world.

"We know who our audience is, but also we're excited to show what are some ways that we can continue making more stories like this," said Vang.

The producers plan to hold screenings of Bitterroot in Minnesota around Hmong New Year in November.