Thao’s Library and the Bentonville Film Festival

This post was sponsored by The Bentonville Film Festival; while the views expressed here were genuinely mine, consideration was paid to me to produce this post.

Recently I had the pleasure of spending some time getting to know the story of two women, who despite living on opposite sides of the world, found each other and managed to change their lives for the better. That film was Thao’s Library, last year’s Bentonville Film Festival winner, and all around inspiring story.

Thao's Library and the Bentonville Film Festival - yoursassyself.com

Thao’s Library explores the unlikely relationship between Thao – a Vietnamese woman who’s body’s been ravaged by the effects of Agent Orange, and Elizabeth – an American woman in the throws of a deep depression following the death of her younger sister. Brought together by a simple photograph, they overcome distance, language, and cultural barriers toward one common goal, to build Thao’s Library.

It was a heartfelt journey filled with Elizabeth’s search for answers and Thao’s never ending desire to open a library for the children of her village. Filled with overflowing optimism, Thao proves that no matter what your personal struggles, there is always a reason to continue living and enjoying life.

Optimistic quote from Thaos Library - yoursassyself.com

And together they managed to do just that, while delivering their beautiful, riveting journey along the way. It was so inspiring in fact that I was moved to head back to Walmart and purchase the movie and several books to donate to my local Children’s Shelter. I, like Thao, believe knowledge is power and books not only provide that, but they also allow you the opportunity to transport yourself to a different time, place, life, and overall dream world where everything is possible. Everyone, regardless of where they find themselves, deserves the opportunity to experience that escape. So I decided to play a small role in helping local children along that path.

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Thaos Library and Childrens Books - yoursassyself.com

With so much inspiration and motivation to take on things that may seem out of reach, it’s no wonder this film won at last year’s Bentonville Film Festival.


In case you haven’t heard about it, the Bentonville Film Festival (BFF) was co-founded by Academy Award Winner® Geena Davis (Founder and Chair, Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media) and entrepreneur Trevor Drinkwater (CEO, ARC Entertainment) in 2015. BFF’s mission is to encourage content creation in film and other forms of media that reflects the diverse — and half female — world we live in.  And in partnership with founding Sponsor Walmart, presenting Sponsor Coca-Cola and distribution partners AMC Theatres and Lifetime, it’s the only film competition in the world to guarantee theatrical, television, digital and retail home entertainment distribution for its winners in the Best Narrative Jury Award, Best Family Film Award, and Audience Award categories.  Pretty darn cool if you ask me, and this year’s second annual Bentonville Film Festival will be held May 3-8, 2016 in Bentonville, Arkansas.  The films accepted into competition have two or more of the following characteristics:  Female or Minority Lead, Female or Minority Director, Female or Minority Writer, Female or Minority Production Company, Gender and Diversity Balanced cast, and/or Gender and Diversity Balanced crew.  The cool part is that BFF not only focuses on supporting diverse storytellers, but it’s also research based and commercially driven. Yes research based, which is aimed to raise awareness and expose unconscious bias, to bring about change.

If they see it, they can be it - Betonville Film Festival quote - yoursassyself.com

As a minority female, I couldn’t agree more and love championing anything that aims to bring about change, especially when it comes to getting media to reflect the diverse world we live in. If you do too, and love watching inspirational films, please check out Thao’s Library and keep an eye out for other great films and updates from the Bentonville Film Festival.

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What great escapes have you taken through reading and/or through film?

Rocio Chavez
Lets Connect

Rocio Chavez

Digital Content Creator & Multimedia Designer at Your Sassy Self
I'm a Mexican-American, Sassy, Bilingual, Professional Woman with a passion for life long learning, sharing, and living my best life. I'm the founder and digital content creator for Your Sassy Self and work full time as a Multimedia Designer. Let's connect and see how we can change the world...or at least change our perspective of it. 😉
Rocio Chavez
Lets Connect

Latest posts by Rocio Chavez (see all)

About Author

I'm a Mexican-American, Sassy, Bilingual, Professional Woman with a passion for life long learning, sharing, and living my best life. I'm the founder and digital content creator for Your Sassy Self and work full time as a Multimedia Designer. Let's connect and see how we can change the world...or at least change our perspective of it. ;)

(43) Comments

  1. My parents always rave about film festivals, I would love to go check one out some day soon! I will have to check out that book, I’m always looking for good books to read, as well as good films to watch. thank you!

    1. That’s awesome Eloise and you’re in luck because it is a film and such a good watch. Hope you enjoy it.

  2. Robin Rue (@massholemommy) says:

    Thao’s Library sounds great. I would love to check it out.

    1. If you get a chance Robin, I hope you do. So good!

  3. I love these types of films as they are about real life. They are not glamorized by hollywood.

    1. Right, there’s not better drama than what’s going on in real life. Hope you get a chance to check it out Tara.

  4. Fully agree with the fact that no matter what your personal struggles, there is always a reason to continue living and enjoying life. Thanks for such an interesting review! I would like to read this book and watch the film!

    1. Yay so glad you liked it Eugenia. It’s out on DVD (which is the image you see) so please check it out!

  5. Elizabeth O. says:

    I haven’t heard of the touching film until now. That’s really such a moving story. Books are the perfect escape for me too. They teach you new things and bring you to places you’ve never been before!

    1. Yasss! Totally Elizabeth. I hope you get a chance to check it out!!

  6. I have never attended a film festival and your review will now cause me to add it to my bucket list.

    1. That’s awesome Claudette, I’ve added it to mine too 😉

  7. This film sounds like an inspirational and heartwarming story. I love the gist and will be on the look out to grab it. P.S. I completely agree that “if they see it, they can become it”. It’s a great addage!

    1. Thanks Jessica and I hope you do get a chance to watch it. Amazing!

  8. I really want to attend the Bentonville Film Festival. I am a huge movie buff and it is exactly what I need.

    1. Ooh, I hope you do get a chance to attend. I know I’m adding this to my list as well!

  9. Sounds like such a great film! I’ll have to check it out.

    Flip Flops and Furs

    1. I hope you do Sarah, enjoy!

  10. april grant says:

    Sounds like an interesting films. I will check this out

    1. Thanks April, hope you enjoy!

  11. Thaos Library sounds like a good Watch and I will see if its available in UK thanks for sharing this Rocio. enjoy the Film festival too 🙂

    1. Yes, and I’m sure you’ll be able to find it Julie, just click here for a digital copy 😉 http://www.thaoslibrary.com/

  12. I have never been to a film festival but I would love to attend one someday!

    1. Right, me either but the do seem like fun Ana. Thanks for stopping in. 😀

  13. I haven’t heard of this film until now. It sounds very interesting. I will have to check this out.

    1. I hope you do and that you enjoy it as much as I did! 😀

  14. lexie lane says:

    It sounds inspirational and interesting film. Will check this out.

    1. Awesome, hope you do Lexie 😀

  15. I adore stories like this. Many times they end up making me cry but I love them anyway. It is amazing sometimes the circumstances that can bring people together.

    1. Right Mardene. And I totally cried watching it. Heck even the trailer had me crying, but I’m that girl. I hope you get a chance to check it out, it will warm your heart.

  16. I haven’t heard of this film festival but it looks really interesting I hope i can go some day

    1. Right Amy, it just started last year but based on it’s premise, I’m sure it will grow and grow.

  17. Wow! After reading Thao’s “There isn’t anything to be sad about…” who wouldn’t be inspired to make the most of every day and to be happy and giving of yourself. I’m going to be looking for the movie too! Very, very inspirational. Thanks for sharing this.

    1. Thanks Nancy, that’s how I felt after hearing Thao say it too, which is why I had to create that quote. So inspiring. I hope you like it as much as I did!

  18. I haven’t heard of this film before! It sounds like a great watch. I like inspirational movies 🙂

    1. Me too Shaylee, hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

  19. I love my movies/films. This is something I need to aim for or, at least, try to do a review of in the future.

    Thanks for Sharing.

    John M

    1. Totally John, especially if you find any you think we’d all enjoy 😉

  20. Inspirational films are always a good option to watch. It can be heart wrenching and it can be heart breaking.

    1. They can, but they’re also filled with hope and ideas of how to do be better, do better, which this one totally is. I hope you get a chance to check it out Kathy!

  21. I must read the book. the film festival sounds amazing. I would also like to see this move. So touching

    1. That’s actually a DVD Eileen, which I totally recommend you go and check out. It is pretty inspiring! Enjoy 😀

  22. love films like this while I have never been to a film event I would love to one day thanks for sharing opportunities that are out there
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