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The Documentary

Phantom Roots is an experiential road memoir to honor the Vietnamese diaspora-

connecting elements of ancestral landscape with acts of remembrance.

Serenaded by grandmother’s beloved folk songs, a first generation Vietnamese-American encounters self through her grandfather’s devotion to community loyalty. The project in development is a visual diary of the journey taken by director Erica Nguyen, who reconnects with her heritage lost through the lives being lived by her multigenerational family.

Within the portraiture of places dear to her elders and lyrical folklore that captivated their imaginations, these ghosts can be known. And their values carried into future realities.

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As a grassroots documentary filmmaker, Erica is motivated to encounter urgent stories and collaborate through mutual self study. Her interdisciplinary background

in Sociolinguistics and Ethnography frames her process around how estrangement from our origins manifests in our bodies. A Vietnamese- American raised in California, Erica belongs to the modern diaspora that seeks to transform generational hurt into a reclaimed sense of belonging.  


She is based in the high desert of New Mexico, alongside the Nambé Pueblo. 

Director Erica Nguyen
Support for Phantom Roots

Woodstock Film Festival Residency & Story Incubator 2022

Ghetto Film School 2022

No Name Cinema 2022

Taos Center for the Arts 2022

UnionDocs NY Early Production Lab 2023

Zine Corner
múa rối nước

múa rối nước

Treasure map fold out zine featuring a water puppetry pagoda with with me and my 2 siblings as puppets floating in the stage pond. The dragon's plume of smoke forms the country of Vietnam, where we see 2 fish representative of my grandparents. Who were Northern born but migrated South, before fleeing to the West for sanctuary. The white fish that is headed East completes the loop, returning to our ancestral home on a pilgrimage in 2022. Illustration by Lux Meteora (

Mini fold out zine showcasing a lived story from our family's pilgrimage to Vietnam. Returning to the old haunt of a neighborhood altered, and the surviving star fruit tree that remains watchful. Illustration by Lux Meteora (

Sketch of my father's kite fishing techniques off the coast of Southern California. Flying fish bait is used in true marionette fashion to lure giant bluefin tuna. Yet another scene to invigorate the ties that bind each generation of the Vietnamese diaspora to both past & present. Illustration by Lux Meteora (

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