Actress Hong Chau will be celebrated at Cinequest with the Maverick Spirit Award

ACTRESS HONG CHAU’S REMARKABLE JOURNEY FROM IMMIGRATING TO THE U.S. AS PART OF A REFUGEE FAMILY TO BECOMING A GOLDEN GLOBE NOMINATED STAR WILL BE CELEBRATED AT CINEQUEST WITH THE MAVERICK SPIRIT AWARD

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February 26, 2020 (SAN JOSE, CA) — Every path to stardom is unique, but for actress Hong Chau it was especially long, featuring stops in Thailand, New Orleans and Boston, as well as a decade of stops and starts in Hollywood. Then in 2017 she received a Golden Globe nomination for her role in the film Downsizing (co-starring Matt Damon) and her career took off, including a featured role in last year’s acclaimed HBO miniseries Watchmen.
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Chau is receiving the Maverick Spirit Award at this year’s Cinequest Film & Creativity Festival (Cinequest) along with a screening of her brilliant new movie Destiny. (co-starring Brian Dennehy). The award recognizes those who stand apart from the crowd, willing to create and innovate from a place of personal yet global vision. The Maverick leads, takes risks, tries the difficult, if not impossible, and delivers original work and an original life. This spirit sums up the best of the worlds of cinema and Silicon Valley. Previous recipients have included Nicolas Cage, Elle Fanning, J.J. Abrams, Neil Gaiman, and Harrison Ford.
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She was born in a refugee camp in Thailand. Her parents were Vietnamese “boat people” who fled the Communist regime in 1979. Her family later immigrated to New Orleans after a Vietnamese Catholic Church there found a sponsor for them. Once in the U.S., her parents were similar to many immigrants in that they found work in the low-wage service industry. They currently run a convenience store in Louisiana.
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Chau’s parents were determined to see her and her brothers graduate from college. For Chau, that was at Boston University. She initially studied creative writing but switched to film studies at her parents’ urging because it was more practical. She had intended to work in documentary film but decided to give acting a try after classmates praised her work in their student films.
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In 2010, she landed a role in David Simon’s critically acclaimed but little seen HBO series Treme. What followed were several years of guest starring spots on everything from How I Met Your Mother to NCIS, as well as the 2014 film Inherent Vice from director Paul Thomas Anderson. However, in 2017 she broke out with the role as Ngoc Lan Tran in Downsizing and a featured role in the cultural smash Big Little Lies on HBO.
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Chau will receive her Maverick Spirit Award and engage in a conversation about her career on March 7 at the California Theatre in Downtown San Jose following a screening of her new film Driveways.
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Driveways tells the story of the friendship between eight-year-old Cody and 80-year-old Korean War veteran Del, played by Golden Globe and Tony Award-winner Brian Dennehy. Earlier this year, Chau was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award for her role as Cody’s mother Kathy.
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She will be seen this summer as a fairy who can rejuvenate at will in the Disney film Artemis Fowl, directed by five-time Academy Award nominee Sir Kenneth Branagh.
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Despite her recent success, Chau is well aware that diversity on screen continues to lag far behind the reality of U.S. demographics.
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“In Hollywood, there’s not a lot of roles for Asian people. So a lot of it is waiting and waiting and waiting,” said Chau.
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Silicon Valley will not have to wait long for Chau’s appearance. It will be in the city with the largest Vietnamese population in the U.S., San Jose, at the 30th Cinequest Film & Creativity Festival on March 7th.
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