Mai Khoi and the Dissidents


2020 Season

Ten years ago, pop singer Mai Khôi’s patriotic hit song “Vietnam” launched her quickly to fame and fortune, encouraged and supported by the Communist party and state-run media who saw her as a promising new role model. When Khôi’s creeping unease with government censorship of her songs pushes her to release her controversial new album without their approval, it results in a media and performance ban, constant surveillance, and threats of imprisonment. Compared to Russian musician-activists Pussy Riot and dubbed “Vietnam’s Lady Gaga,” Khôi must now go to great lengths to disseminate her music as she fights to champion women’s rights, LGBT rights, and free speech.

UK Advisory (12A)

Joe Piscatella
Country of Production: 
United States
English, Vietnamese
Filmmaker Bio(s): 
Joe Piscatella

Since finishing the graduate writing program at the University of Southern California, Joe has written for a host of television, film, radio, and print projects. As an award-winning documentary film director, Joe has always been drawn to stories of unlikely heroes who defy the odds to make a difference in the world. His first feature documentary, #chicagoGirl: The Social Network Takes on a Dictator, has aired in more than 60 countries. He was an executive producer on the documentary film Finders Keepers, which premiered at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival, and he has also written studio feature films such as Disney’s Underdog. Joe’s most recent feature documentary, Joshua: Teenager vs. Superpower ,follows 14-year-old Joshua Wong’s fight against the Chinese Communist Party. Joshua won the Audience Award at Sundance 2017 and was one of Netflix’s most high-profile acquisitions of the festival.