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Video: No Crying at the Dinner Table

Filmmaker Carol Nguyen interviews her own family to craft an emotionally complex and meticulously composed portrait of intergenerational trauma, grief, and secrets in this cathartic documentary about things left unsaid.

Directed by : Carol Nguyen
Produced by : Carol Nguyen, Aziz Zoromba

75+ Festivals, 20+ Awards including:
**World Premiere — TIFF, 2019
**International Premiere — IDFA 2019
**Grand Jury Award for Short Documentary — SXSW Film Festival, 2020
**Short List for Shorts — DOC NYC, 2020
**Nomination for Best Documentary Short — Canadian Screen Awards, 2020
**Best International Documentary — Galway Film Fleadh, 2020
(Learn more : http://bit.ly/3qVR2Wr)

Running time: 15 minutes

NO CRYING AT THE DINNER TABLE is a student film which Carol Nguyen directed at the age of 21. Here is what the director says about making this film:


I grew up between funeral homes and temples. There was a period in my life where I prayed that no one else would die the next year. Although death was very prominent in my childhood, I never had the tools to understand and express my emotions. Grieving was something to be done alone. 

When I discovered my family’s stories, it really hit home with me. I was taken back to memories as a teenager trying to make sense of my own traumas alone, and not having the tools to express them.

With these discoveries, I knew that I wanted to make a documentary about intergenerational trauma, and push for change in the process.


One of the most frequently asked questions I get is about how I got my family to agree to this process, as this is definitely not something that everyone should or could do with their family. 

I am very privileged to have had the opportunity to make films since I was in high school. I have always made films with personal origins – many in which they even starred in. They were always supportive of my passion for cinema, so when I approached my family with the idea of No Crying, they accepted without hesitation. They had all found closure individually and were ready to share. They already had a trusting relationship with the camera and with me as a director, which I am truly grateful for.

Of course, there was still lots of work to be done, such as trust exchanges and pre-interviews. Everything that you see on camera was done, discussed and consented to before the shoot. When we arrived on set, we all knew which stories were to be discussed. As well, we kept the set closed off during the interviews with just me and my DP Walid to create a safe and comfortable environment […]

To continue reading Carol Nguyen’s discussion of the the making of the film, please click here.

Carol Nguyen

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