How Filming in Vietnam Connected a Grandson to His Grandfather

PROVO, Utah – Aug 09, 2019 – A grandfather and grandson both spent time in Vietnam—but for very different reasons. David Ingram served for one year in the Vietnam War as an American soldier, and his grandson Sam Loveland grew up hearing stories about his grandfather’s experience. Nearly fifty years after his grandfather fought in Vietnam, Loveland visited the beautiful country himself. An advertising grad from Cumming, Georgia, Loveland wasn’t there to fight a war—he was there to film a video featuring the work of the Ballard Center’s Y-Prize: Social Innovation Solutions Competition with Fargreen, an environmentally friendly business in Vietnam.

Loveland’s visit to Vietnam took place in a completely different environment from the one his grandfather served in as a soldier. “I was welcomed into the people’s homes,” Loveland says. “I got to meet with a local veteran of the Vietnam War who fought against my grandpa. [The Vietnamese veteran] was the most welcoming, kind, and forgiving individual. There was no hatred there for me as an American, and that acceptance was incredible. This man’s kindness was another glimpse into the hope of the future, a place that yesterday was war torn and distraught, but a place where my own children can someday experience the hope of tomorrow.”

When he arrived for his one-week stay in Hanoi, Loveland immediately felt valued and included. He began to understand the saying, “It takes a village” in a whole new light. Loveland spent a considerable amount of time in the village Thai Binh. Not only is Thai Binh a tight-knit community, but the people who live there come together as an entire village during harvest times, heavy times of work, or community events. 

“Being there was an immersive experience,” Loveland says. “I immediately felt like part of the team when I got there. The most magical experience was in Thai Binh. As videographers, we got farmers together, and we could feel the community and teamwork. When we finished filming, we sat on the ground with the people who lived there and ate local food. I could feel the love for this project, and [the people] could feel our love for them in return.”

Loveland has Trang Tran, owner of Fargreen, to thank for his opportunity to visit Vietnam. Tran partnered with BYU in early 2018 as part of the Y-Prize: Social Innovation Solutions competition, which is a student-run case competition. Both graduate and undergraduate students came together to solve a business problem that Tran was facing within her socially innovative company. Tran’s organic mushroom business had grown so rapidly that she needed an HR strategy to sustainably expand her business. Loveland participated in the case competition as a student, ultimately  tying for first place. 

After Loveland graduated from BYU in April 2018, he started doing videography professionally and kept in contact with Tran, who eventually commissioned a video shoot in Vietnam for her company.

As an overarching goal, Tran wanted the video to both entertain people and help them understand her company. According to Loveland, the focus of the video was on recruiting for Fargreen, which is an extension of the case competition topic. Through the video, Fargreen is hoping to attract both student and professional volunteers on an international scale. Loveland strategized with Tran and produced a video that exceeded expectations and has been featured at many Ballard Center events.

During the video production process, Loveland learned about things he personally wanted to improve and change. “Being there in person and interacting with the people reinforced to me that there is good in this world, and there are efforts to do good all over,” Loveland says. “Having Fargreen come out of this little community seemingly in the middle of nowhere Vietnam is amazing.” 

As for his grandfather, Loveland plans to visit his grandfather soon and share his award-winning video in person.  

To view Loveland’s video, click here. To learn more about the Y-Prize: Social Innovation Solutions competition, visit here.

Sam Loveland while filming in Vietnam.
Sam Loveland while filming in Vietnam.

Media Contact: Alicia Gettys (801) 422-5283
Writer: Ballard Center