A film directed by Khoa Do, an Australian director of Vietnamese origin, has become a box office hit since it debuted August 3 in Australia, helping Khoa rise through the ranks of the local film industry.

Khoa brings rugby league to the big screen in Footy Legends, a feel-good movie starring his brother Anh Do and acclaimed actress Claudia Karvan and actor Peter Phelps. The film also is co-written by the siblings.

The film’s debut August 3 drew a large turnout of about 500 mostly Australian students, and has garnered outstanding critical acclaim and audience response since then.

In the film, Luc Vu (played by Anh Do) is a Vietnamese-Australian living in Yagoona, in Sydney’s Western suburbs.

Unable to find a job after the factory he worked at closed, Luc does his best to care for his 11-year-old sister Anne (Lisa Saggers) since their mother died.

When welfare officer Alison (Claudia Karvan) tells him that Anne will be put into a foster home unless he gets a stable job, Luc convinces his high school mates to enter The Holden Cup, a rugby league competition.

The first prize is the event is a new Holden Ute, along with the money he needs to take care of his sister.

Luc struggles to live up to the expectations of his elderly Grandfather (Dao Minh Sinh), who believes only in success.

The director’s portrayal

Twenty-eight-year-old Khoa Do made his first feature film in 2003 with The Finished People, a gritty, low-budget drama about street kids.

In 2001, Khoa’s short drama Delivery Day scooped numerous awards, screened at over 30 international film festivals and was shortlisted for an Academy Award nomination.

Before turning to film, Khoa worked in the youth theatre in southwest Sydney.

He has also worked as a volunteer with Open Family Australia at Cabramatta in Sydney, assisting at-risk youths, awarded Bankstown City’s Young Citizen of the Year Award in 2002.

Khoa was named Young Australian of the Year in 2005, the honor bestowed by the Australian premier.

“Footy legends is not a film about rugby. It is a film about family, about friendship, about finding your place in the world. It is about realizing broken dreams and ambitions. It is about finding a way home”, Khoa confided.

“First and foremost, I want people to enjoy it. It’s a lot of comedy, and a lot of laughter… but it’s also got quite a few touching moments. It’s a feel-good film; I hope audiences leave the cinemas feeling that life is great and anything is possible,” Khoa added.

Reported by Truong Dien Thang – Translated by An Dien