Program Detail

Mr. Cao Goes to Washington

S. Leo Chiang / USA / 2011 / 72 min / English / Color / HDCAM* / World Premiere


The world of politics has been a historically non-diverse state of affairs, with the majority of political figureheads typically consisting of white males coming from somewhat typical backgrounds. Mr. Cao Goes to Washington paints a clear picture of American politics from the unique viewpoint of Joseph Cao, the first Vietnamese American to become a member of Congress.

Following his timeline as a New Orleans Congressman from the beginning of his first term to his struggles for reelection, Mr. Cao Goes to Washington is an absorbing character study of an idealist who must learn to deal with the racial and partisan politics of the South while still maintaining his own viewpoints and personal goals. His position as the only non-white member of the Republican Party in Congress puts him under the constant scrutiny of not only other congressman, but also the media and the public.

Investigating the harsh realities of bipartisanship and what it means to be a Republican (one representing a highly Democratic area), while also being a minority, Mr. Cao Goes to Washington explores the political campaign of an individual who has perhaps one of the most interesting stories in American politics. This CAAM produced documentary was directed by S. Leo Chiang, whose A Village Called Versailles co-won the SFIAAFF ‘10 Documentary Audience Award.

-Justin Albert

Attending guest (3/10, 3/13, 3/18): Director Leo S. Chiang, Joseph Cao (3/18)
Co-presenters: Diasporic Vietnamese Artists Network (3/10, 3/13, 3/18), BAAPALS (3/18)


  • Director: S. Leo Chiang
  • Executive Producer: Stephen Gong
  • Producer: S. Leo Chiang
  • Cinematographer: Bao Nguyen, S. Leo Chiang
  • Editor: Matthew Martin


March 10, 2012 4:00 pm
Pacific Film Archive Theater
Tickets not currently on sale

March 13, 2012 6:30 pm
Sundance Kabuki Cinemas
Tickets not currently on sale

March 18, 2012 7:10 pm
Camera 3 Cinemas
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