3 X 1 HOUR | 2012 | Produced for SBS

Once Upon a Time in Cabramatta is the untold story of how the Vietnamese community overcame the odds and found their place in multicultural Australia. The story begins with the landmark decision of Prime Minister Fraser to open Australia’s doors to thousands of refugees at the end of the Vietnam War. It is a moment in history that finally buries the infamous White Australia Policy and transforms a nation.

The years that follow are as dramatic as they are turbulent – a people struggling to find their place in a foreign land. In this one tiny Sydney suburb, the 80s and 90s see the arrival of street gangs, a heroin epidemic and the first political assassination in Australia’s history.

The Vietnamese people are vilified and demonised. Cabramatta it seems represents all that is wrong with Asian immigration. What’s more the community exist against a political backdrop that is fractured, the universal support for multiculturalism a distant memory.

But as the century draws to a close there is a remarkable turnaround. The Vietnamese people finally find their voice – speaking up to claim their rightful, democratic place in their adopted home. Cabramatta is a community transformed. Australia, a continent changed forever.



New York Film Festival 2013 | Winner – UNDPI Gold Medal

New York Film Festival 2013 | Silver Medal – Community Portraits Award

AACTA Award 2013 | Finalist – Best Editing in a Documentary

Walkley Documentary Award 2012 | Finalist – Documentary Award

Atom Awards 2012 | Best Factual Television Series