Project: Point of Reference
Scr: Nguyen-Vo Nghiem-Minh
Estimated budget: $2.1m (Eu1.5m)

While growing up in a small town in Vietnam during the country's war with the US, Nguyen-Vo Nghiem-Minh escaped to the cinema run by his parents in search of respite. Today he lives in Los Angeles but often returns to Vietnam where some of his family still lives.

His emigration provoked Nguyen-Vo to consider what he describes as 'the personal identity question in the face of globalisation'.

This is the theme of his second feature, Point Of Reference. The film is the story of Long, a middle-aged Vietnamese immigrant and grocery-store worker in Los Angeles and the people he meets in his new life. An unexpected romantic encounter with a Mexican woman, Yolanda, reveals the tragedy in her life. Her experience serves as a catalyst to him, leading him to be more open about a past he had left behind.

Nguyen-Vo says the film's visual style will be inspired by Edward Hopper's stark and beautiful depictions of US life and landscapes.

The project comes to Rome from Hong Kong's HAF. Nguyen-Vo's production team consists of a trio of well-heeled Los Angeles-based producers - Pascal Vaguelsy, Luca Matrundola and Julien Favre for DViant Films.

Point Of Reference is set to be one of four features the company is producing on the theme of the American dream, each of which will be directed by non-US film-makers.

Nguyen-Vo's debut project, 2004's Buffalo Boy, screened at more than 60 international festivals including Toronto, Rotterdam and Pusan. It was also Vietnam's official entry for the 2006 Oscars.