Speakers Profile - Khoa Do

In every obstacle lies an extraordinary opportunity

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Khoa Do is a film director, screenwriter and teacher who has had extensive experience working with the most disadvantaged in our community, inspiring them and guiding them to incredible success. Khoa's belief is that everyone on a team, no matter what their background or experience, is extraordinarily gifted, and our goal is to help others to realise their true potential.

Four years ago, a group of young kids in Cabramatta, south-western Sydney, had come to a welfare centre seeking help. One was homeless, sleeping in refuges and in McDonald's play areas, another was a shy Aboriginal young man who never spoke a single word, and another was an accused criminal currently on parole. None had ever finished high school.

Two years later, they were all AFI Award nominees, walking the red carpet opposite Geoffrey Rush, Naomi Watts and Cate Blanchett. Hear their extraordinary story, and how Khoa harnessed their talents and abilities to make an internationally acclaimed film, which became a true lesson in teamwork, motivation and inspiration.

Khoa's amazing story himself, from coming to Australia as a refugee on a tiny fishing boat crammed full of people to becoming the 2005 Young Australian of the Year is a journey of courage, resilience and hope amidst incredible opposition. Growing up in the western suburbs of Sydney, Khoa recalls going to school with sticky-taped shoes and coming home to find out that their electricity had been cut off because the family couldn't afford to pay the bills.

In 2004, he was the youngest film director in Australian history to be nominated for an AFI Award for Best Director. Over the years, he has received many awards for his work in the community and with young people – Young Vietnamese Australian of the Year Award 2000, Young Citizen of the Year Award 2001 and the Young Australian of the Year Award 2005.

In film, he has had incredible success, being nominated for 3 AFI Awards, 3 Film Critics' Circle Awards, 2 Australian Writers' Guild Awards, and an Australian Screen Director's Award. His first short film was shortlisted for a 2001 Academy Award, and in 2003, he won the IF Independent Spirit Award for his filmmaking.

He has represented Australia internationally as a youth delegate (Action 2000 Anti-Racism Initiative in Canada), and has travelled widely speaking on youth issues, motivation and inspiration. He has spoken in all arenas and platforms, whether it is to
newly-arrived refugees in Cabramatta, or to Aboriginal kids in Alice Springs, or to the Prime Minister and the leaders of our country in Canberra.

Most recently, Khoa wrote and directed FOOTY LEGENDS, starring Claudia Karvan, Anh Do and Angus Sampson, and is currently working on MISSING WATER, an extraordinary film that will be released in 2008.

After hearing him speak, the Governor General of Australia exclusively asked for Khoa Do to interview him in Kalgoorlie to officially launch Australia Day 2006.

In his presentations, Khoa addresses:
- Finding and harnessing your talent
- Working as a team amidst incredible opposition
- Your obstacles are your greatest opportunities
- Tapping into your creativity
- Following your heart