refugee - heartfelt - romance - career - adventure - family
In 5 episodes a little girl escapes post-war Vietnam, and during her 20s and 30s journeys through deep relationships while also facing her inner demons and racially-charged career challenges. Step by step she heals her past – and discovers true love, career fulfillment and a deep sense of community.
Covering two intriguing decades in five 1-hour episodes, WORLDS APART is a unique limited-series refugee/success tale moving through family challenges, financial struggles, deep romance, exotic adventure, business intrigue, and ongoing emotional healing and personal awakening. Each episode introduces new cultural themes and convoluted characters, as Dao Le bravely dives into unexpected life situations demanding resolution.
Dao herself is quite complex – seriously banged but determined to transcend. Damaged by early-childhood traumas, she is academically brilliant but caught up in constrictive attitudes she must somehow rise beyond. As she strives to participate in a new world of education, romance, business and family life, she finds that her personality quirks are unique, but her struggles to adapt to a confusing, confrontational and sometimes downright oppressive new culture are shared by millions.
Based on the memoir by Mai Le, WORLDS APART is both deeply personal, and also universal in its portrayal of an innocent young girl uprooted by the Vietnam War into a seriously-foreign culture where she must deal with poverty, discrimination, PTSD and other debilitating dilemmas in order to transcend them all – and create her unique fulfilling life in America.
This true-to-life story begins (very briefly) with abject life-or-death struggle for survival in the old country, shifting to entry-level poverty and racism in the slums of a new culture. The Limited Series quickly advances into college strife and academic victory at Bowdoin College in Maine, the Sorbonne in Paris – and finally grad school at Princeton.
Youthful romance and sexual discovery intermix with bouts of depression and despair. Dao must somehow resolve fearful parental attitudes and antiquated cultural expectations. Luckily Dao meets three very special students at college, and several key colleagues and mentors later on, who continue to influence, challenge, and sustain her through the many pitfalls she encounters from the age of 18 to 36:
VLAD is a Jewish refugee from Ukraine who will move in and out of her life as lover, tormenter, partner and ultimately the loving father of her children.
ILLIANA is from a wealthy Argentine/Bulgarian family who initially competes for Vlad’s romantic favors - but, following a painful betrayal at Princeton, she serves as Dao’s supportive colleague and confidante.
NOMAN is from Pakistan. A bright light in the story, shy and bisexual, he becomes Dao’s intimae trustworthy friend – and also finally bonds long-term with Illiana.
JEAN PIERRE is half French aristocrat, half Vietnamese. A budding documentary filmmaker in France, he and Dao explore Vietnam as college students, struggle with their relationship in Paris, and later on come to each other’s aid in tight situations.
LINDA is a college therapist who helps Dao through bouts of depression
DIANNE is a mid-range administrator at the World Bank who becomes Dao’s supervisor, pushes her into difficult foreign assignments in Africa and the Near East – and later guides Dao through a challenging pregnancy and birth.
KRISTIN is a tough compassionate farmer in Massachusetts who helps Dao recover from post-partum depression, and gives her a new career challenge running a farm-to-market fresh-produce delivery service.
EDWARD is a venture capitalist in New York. He takes a big risk and brings Dao in as CEO for a med-tech start-up. He seems ruthless and unkind but actually pushes her to new heights of success and personal power.
WORLDS APART runs the gamut of human emotions – but ultimately this is an uplifting tale of healing and transcendence. Each episode will inspire its audience to let go of prejudice, low self-esteem and inhibition – and strive toward fulfilling business success and emotional wellbeing.
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