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Naja Pham Lockwood

Naja has executive produced multiple documentary and narrative films focusing on social justice issues including 76 Days, Try Harder!, Coming Home Again, Gook and Cries From Syria. She is the founder of RYSE Media Ventures, which both supports stories of diverse voices, and an investor in Impact Partners Films, which has financed the Academy Award winning documentary, Icarus as well as Won’t You Be My Neighbor and Audrie and Daisy. She financed and co-produced The First Days with StoryCorp which is a collaboration between StoryCorps and PBS American Experience which aimed to collect, preserve and celebrate the stories of Vietnamese American refugees and Vietnam veterans throughout America.


Naja graduated with a BA from Boston University and an MBA from Harvard Business School. She currently serves on the Board of the Utah Film Commission, the Center for Asian American Media (CAAM) and the Global Advisory Board of Fulbright University Vietnam.

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Describe your passion for Film.

My work in film combines a love for storytelling with a commitment to social justice. Storytelling entertains, educate and inspires us. It has the power to change the way we think about ourselves, our world and its people. As a refugee, I fled from war-torn Vietnam to the United States when I was a young girl. Part of my mission in life is to help others through telling stories, giving a voice to the voiceless and tell that story that has not been told. The medium I chose is film.  I continue to believe that we can heal and transform our culture through the power of storytelling.

How have you been involved in the Arts, Media and Film?

I've been in the industry since 1997. Prior to relocating to Park City, I was an Arts Commissioner of San Francisco, sworn in by Mayor Willie Brown and then Mayor Gavin Newsom, focusing on fundraising and community outreach. In addition, I was a Trustee of the San Francisco Asian Art Museum, working on the successful $170m capital campaign. Upon arriving to Park City, I was appointed to the Sundance Advisory Board and to the Utah Film Commission. I also co-created the Sundance Screenwriters Fellowships for Asian American filmmakers, lecture at the University of Utah on Asian and Global Cinema and promote Asian filmmakers as a Trustee of the Center for Asian American Media. I have been an investor through Impact Partners Films, which supports documentaries that enrich and ignite social change. Through Impact Partners Film, we have launched the careers of many young filmmakers. 

What is your current work now?

In this moment of racial awareness with the goals of racial inclusion and equity in the entertainment industry, I am working to promote authentic stories from filmmakers of color through raising funds, whether in the forms of grants or equity.  I am currently developing and producing stories of the Vietnamese diaspora with themes of war, identity and trauma.  There is not only one road but many roads for a woman as she decides her goals and priorities throughout her life.  As I move towards a new chapter in my life, I am excited to also venture further into  telling my own stories as an American, a woman and a Vietnamese refugee while reclaiming our identities as Vietnamese-Americans beyond the War. 

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