When brothers Abel and Burlee Vang - set out to write a screen play four years ago - it was right around the same time Clint Eastwood's film "Gran Torino" went into production and shined the spotlight on the Hmong people. The two contributed to the movie - one as a casting assistant, the other as an extra.
Abel Vang said, "It was really neat to see how the pro's do it, I learned a lot."
But the brothers already knew they had a story Hollywood had never seen before. A story about the CIA's "secret war" against communism in Loas.
Burlee Vang said, "It's two brothers, they live with their widow father and eventually he's killed during the war so they older brother has to find ways to take care of the younger brother."
It's titled, "The Tiger's Child" and this week it won a prestigious award. The brothers are now one of five winners of the Academy's Nicholl Screenwriting Fellowships. The honor comes with a $30 thousand dollar stipend and even bigger buzz.
Abel Vang said, "It's opened so many doors, we've been bombarded by emails, phone calls, from talent agencies, managers, production companies and even entertainment lawyers."
In November, Abel and Burlee will attend a gala dinner and rub elbows with members of the academy. They'll also get to work on their next screenplay and they already have a few ideas.
Burlee Vang said, "Two of them are thrillers, the other one a super-hero drama, action."
Not bad for a pair of brothers - who say - they come from a culture without many writers and who's people were without a written language until the 1960's.