Film Detail

Open Season

Mark Tang, Lu Lippold / USA / 2011 / 57 min


It was a deed that horrified the nation and put an entire culture on the defensive. In a northern Wisconsin forest during Thanksgiving week of 2004, the Hmong American deer hunter Chai Vang was confronted by several white hunters in all-terrain vehicles. Exactly what happened next has never been established, but the aftermath was only too clear: Eight people had been shot, six of them to death. Vang, the shooter, claimed that he had feared for his life, was called racist names and not allowed to leave, and had been shot at before he fired in self-defense. The prosecutor of Sawyer County claimed that Vang was an angry, violent man who had always blamed others for his acts. Mark Tang and Lu Lippold’s documentary digs beyond the tabloid reports to find out what really happened that day, at the same time laying bare the strained history of Hmong-Anglo relations, especially as it manifests itself in the hunting culture of the northern states (a pickup bumper sticker says, “save a deer, kill a Hmong”). Was it, to quote the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, “a deadly clash of cultures”? Although it’s difficult to establish definitively what led to the killings, this film provides the context and history that television news overlooked. It probes the pain of a community whose first famous representative appeared in a prison jumpsuit, and it tries to give equal time to the defendant, through clips of Vang’s electrifying videotaped court testimony. Frako Loden In Attendance: Mark Tang (Co-director), Lu Lippoid (Co-director)


  • Director: Mark Tang, Lu Lippold
  • Producer: Mark Tang, Lu Lippold
  • Cinematographer: Matt Ehling, Robin Harris, Lu Lippold
  • Editor: Dan Luke, Mark Tang


Sat 03.12 530pm

Tue 03.15 700pm


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