Lion on the Mat
This short documentary follows Mai Nguyen, a 29 year-old Vietnamese-American martial artist, as she trains for an upcoming Jiu Jitsu match. We witness her training process, and learn how she mentally, as well as physically, prepares. We also see her balance the demands of regular life — job, being a single mother — with training. We meet her four-year-old son Benji, and understand more of the stakes in her decision to keep fighting. Gradually, we learn more about her childhood in Vietnam, her experience immigrating and assimilating to the US, and her return to martial arts as a way to recover from the trauma of her abusive childhood and ex-husband. Best Documentary Short Winner – Cinequest 2021. Best Documentary Short Winner – Reality Bytes Film Festival 2021. Student Nonfiction Award Winner – USA Film Festival 2021. Student Documentary Short Award Winner – Irvine International Film Festival 2021. Award of Outstanding Excellence – Docs Without Borders Film Festival 2021. Official Selections 2021: Buffalo International Film Festival, Female Filmmakers Festival Berlin, Bend Film Festival, Mountainfilm Festival, United Nations International Festival, Kansas City FilmFest International, Santa Barbara International Film Festival, Ivy Film Festival, Humboldt International Film Festival, Woods Hole International Film Festival, Nevada City Film Festival, Richmond International Film Festival, Burbank International Film Festival, New Jersey Film Festival, Austin Asian American Film Festival, Maryland Film Fest, Los Angeles Women’s International Film Festival.