Archive for the ‘Vietnam films’ Category

Film directors call for more government support

December 13, 2007


Vietnam’s film industry was still in need of more professional talent, modern technology and support from the Government, film directors said.

Speaking at Vietnamese Films Week, launched by the Institute of Vietnam and France Cultural Exchanges in Ho Chi Minh City on May 17, veteran local director Viet Linh called on the Government and cinema authorities to give more support to the industry.

“Without more financial investment and new policies on film-making, distribution and marketing, our quality films, including award-winning productions, will continue to find it difficult to be screened and make profits,” Linh said.

She said that although the country’s film industry has developed rapidly in recent years, authorities should create stronger regulations that define preferential rights for marketing and screening Vietnamese movies at cinemas.

Linh said the film industries of France and the Republic of Korea had achieved good results because “their government enacted policies to compel cinemas to show more local films instead of only foreign ones.”

Linh’s critically acclaimed films Me Thao Thoi Vang Bong (Glorious Time in Me Thao Village) and Chung Cu (The Tenement House) were serious dramas that won several prizes at local and international film festivals.

In France, Me Thao Thoi Vang Bong, completed in 2002, was shown in cinemas for 12 weeks while Chung Cu is 1999 was released for 14 weeks.

In Vietnam, both films were only shown in cinemas in the major cities of Hanoi and HCM City for only a week. The films were released with little marketing support.

“As a result, many Vietnamese only know about our films through newspapers and magazines,” said Linh, adding that this way of doing business had created an unfair environment for local film makers, particularly those who often produce serious films with an educational goal instead of purely commercial and entertainment driven features.

Overseas Vietnamese director Nguyen Vo Nghiem Minh said he agreed with Linh, and called on cinema owners to give more help to local directors of serious films.

“Working in the movie business requires a different business approach to that of other fields,” said the Vietnamese-American director. “The great value of a film is not only making profits but also introducing aspects of culture.”

Minh’s first film, Mua Len Trau (Buffalo Boy), was produced in 2004 by the HCM City-based film company Giai Phong (Liberation) and its French and Belgian partners.

The film portrays the lives and work of local farmers living in Dong Thap province. It was screened in many countries, including France, Germany and Canada, but it had not been widely screened in Vietnam.

“Many quality films have failed to lure audiences or make profits because they are released in an unprofessional way,” he said.

Linh and Minh also urged cinema authorities to invest more in human resources training in the film sectors as well as in upgrading technology. (VNA)


Young directors to be honoured

December 13, 2007


HA NOI — Younger Vietnamese film directors are expected to shine at tonight’s Viet Nam Cinematography Association’s annual awards ceremony in Ha Noi.

Young directors Dao Duy Phuc, Le Bao Trung and Ngo Quang Hai are all vying for the prestigious Golden Kite award, which is handed out annually by the association.

Up-and-coming director Dao Duy Phuc’s film 2 Trong 1 (2 in 1), a comedy that contains serious lessons, should be a strong favourite.

When making the film, Phuc moved from his home in Ha Noi to work in HCM City with private film company Thien Ngan.

Only two months after its release, the film attracted thousands of moviegoers around the country, earning nearly VND9 billion (US$560,000) in ticket sales from cinemas in Ha Noi and HCM City alone.

“I’m not sure how my film will fare at the ceremony, but it is one that young people enjoyed watching,” said Phuc.

“We hope our new films signal a trend in the industry, and that the cultural authorities and senior officials of the Cinematography Association will take notice,” said the 37-year-old director.

Another young director, Le Bao Trung, hopes his blockbuster De Muon (Hired Pregnancy) will set a trend for more commercially appealing films in a local industry that is still dominated by by somber and safe topics.

De Muon is a story about a young couple who pay a surrogate mother to have a baby for them. With its action and sexy scenes, it is the first film made by Vietnamese producers that will be restricted to viewers 18 years old and under.

De Muon helped its producer, the private film studio Phuoc Sang, earn more than VND10 billion ($625,000) in ticket sales.

Unlike these so-called entertainment films made by private companies, Chuyen Cua Pao (Pao’s Story) by actor-director Ngo Quang Hai features a theme that may not have as wide appeal as the more titillating De Muon.

Pao’s Story depicts the lives of remote villagers and a young girl named Pao, played by renowned actress Hai Yen, who was featured in the international hit The Quiet American, directed by Australian Philip Noyce.

Nine films produced by State-owned companies, including ones by older and more experienced directors Bui Cuong and Long Van, are expected to be tough competitors.

Other films considered heavyweight contenders are Song Trong So Hai (Living in Fear) by director Bui Thac Chuyen, and Giai Phong Sai Gon (To Liberate Sai Gon) by Long Van, both produced by the State-owned company Viet Nam Film Studio.

These films feature traditional themes about historical events and post-war problems.

The Cinematography Association will also hand out prizes to productions of different types, including TV series and documentaries.

The organising board and judges said this year’s awards would take into consideration both film quality and commercial appeal. — VNS

Special arts camp to look for best movie scriptsSpecial arts camp to look for best movie scripts

December 13, 2007


Writers and amateurs will participate in a national script composition camp launched by the Ministry of Culture and Information’s Cinematography Department on Wednesday.

This is the first time the script composition camp is being held for all movie categories including feature, documentary, science and animated movies.

The camp expects to serve as a script resource for Vietnamese movie makers. Any scripts chosen will be backed by investments in order to complete their works, said Le Ngoc Minh, deputy head of the department.

Cash prizes ranging from VND 1.5 million (about US $100) to VND 4.5 million will be offered to best scripts.

The organisation board will accept all themes, but will favour scripts which focus on contemporary life, children and mountainous ethnic minorities, Minh said.

Minh also reminded writers about copyright rules in case their films are adapted from literature.

The top films will be made by State-owned film studios such as the Vietnam Film Studio, Film Studio I, the Giai Phong Film Studio, the Central Documentary Science Film Studio and the Vietnam Animated Studio.

The camp will open on August 4. (VNS)

First Vietnamese film to be distributed internationally

December 13, 2007

10:59′ 24/08/2006 (GMT+7)


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A scene from “Long-legged Girls”.

VietNamNet Bridge – Thien Ngan Film Company and Sony Pictures Entertainment have come to an agreement on the distribution of a Vietnamese movie, “Nhung Co Gai Chan Dai” (Long-Legged Girls), in other countries in Asia.


Thien Ngan is the first private Vietnamese film company to cooperate with a large foreign corporation to distribute a Vietnamese film in the world market.


A representative of the company said that in November, its partner, Sony Pictures Entertainment, would start distributing the film in most Asian nations.


DVD, VCD and broadcasts on different Asian television channels have also been incorporated into the distribution plan for the movie.


Though this is the first time a Vietnamese movie will receive international distribution, “Long-Legged Girls” has been called a commercial film with poor arty quality.


The movie, however, has become one of the most viewed films in Vietnam, with a number of viewers much higher than the Golden Kite award winner “Chuyen cua Pao” (Pao’s story). 

Purchasing foreign film formats prevalent

December 13, 2007

13:00′ 14/10/2006 (GMT+7)


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A scene in Concealing the pangs.

VietNamNet Bridge – There is an increasing trend in Vietnam’s movie industry: movie producers buy formats of foreign films and restage them to make them more suitable for Vietnamese audiences.


Painful lessons with Thai films 

Producing a movie based on a foreign film format is not new among international film producers. The well-known Hong Kong movie, Internal Affairs, was recently turned into The Departed by Hollywood. It is not surprising that The Departed, as an “offspring”, has been regarded as much better than its “mother”. 

Shortages of good scripts for film making would be the main reason for the purchase of movie formats. Quickly getting the idea, Vietnamese film producers have bought a considerable number of film movie formats to restage them, or in other words “Vietnamise” them to meet the demands of Vietnamese audiences. 

Several Thai movies have been bought by Vietnamese film producers such as Vong xoay tinh yeu (The love whirl), Niem dau chon giau (Concealing the pangs) etc. However, if it is usually true in similar cases in other countries that the second entertainment product is better than the original one, the second Vietnamese film product provides a rather different example. 

Critics have said that just watching the second Vietnamese film products without knowing that they were made from foreign originals, one did not even want to watch these films to the end let alone say “thumbs up”. These films have been badly made. Indeed, many differences between Vietnamese culture and the foreign ones were not changed to turn the story into more suitable for Vietnam’s “life”. 

A painful lesson Vietnamese producers have learned from purchasing Thai films is that they will never be able to successfully compete with the overwhelmingly preferred Korean and Chinese soap operas in Vietnam.

Short of budget, carelessly restaging these Vietnamese film versions, Vietnamese movie producers have failed to lure audiences to watch their poor-quality products. 

Western movie formats are nothing without improving the quality 

Recently, a Spanish film format was purchased by Vietnamese film producers. Efforts to seek for new formats made by Vietnamese producers should be encouraged. However, for Vietnamese audiences, Spanish movies are not popular. Doubts have risen on whether these “Vietnamese- Spanish” movies will not run into the troubles the “Vietnamese – Thai” films did. 

The Spanish format is a sitcom movie, which would be new to Vietnamese people and even for those film producers. Nguyen Minh Chung, the director of the Vietnamese version, “The little mother” said that for him, making this kind of film he encountered many difficulties as he did not have any experience with this kind of film. 

Talking about the future of purchasing foreign film formats, many experts have said that there will be more and more of these kinds of films. The reasons given are a lack of good original movie scripts and film producers are driven by the profit they get from advertisements during the time the films are shown. This also helps to explain why these films are still produced even though they are poorly made. 

Vo Tien

Movies for Tet: A quiet landscape

December 13, 2007

13:37′ 06/01/2007 (GMT+7)
VietNamNet Bridge – In 2006, the movie market was bustling with investment, production and the sales of tens of movies. Yet, for the coming Tet holiday, which is supposedly a profitable season for movies, there will only be 3 films being introduced. In 2006: A exciting market


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A scene from ‘Trai nhay’

About 10 big films were produced in both the north and the south. Private production companies vied with each other to pour a lot of money into new movies, each of which cost over 3 billion dong. Some movies such as Ha Dong Silk Dress (Phuoc Sang, Viet Film, and Anh Viet production companies), The Heroic Blood, and Saigon Solar Eclipse (international Vietnamese production companies), even cost millions of dollars. It is true that not all heavily-invested movies are intended for the domestic market on Tet. For instance, after scoring high at the Pusan Film Festival, Ha Dong Silk Dress has been trying to approach foreign production companies. As for The Heroic Blood and Saigon Solar Eclipse, they are being carefully embellished in order to enter the American market. These two movies will skip the Tet season in Vietnam because producers fear that they won’t be appropriate for a holiday mood.

Before Tet: A pathetic quietness

At this moment, only 3 films will be playing in theatres during Tet. Thien Nhan’s Male Dancers, with an investment of 3.5 billion dong (not including advertisement expenses) and with the advantage of having exclusive deals with Galaxy theatres and some others, is optimistically scheduled for a debut on January 9.

The director of Thien Ngan Company, Tran Vu Hoai, said with excitement, “The domestic film market witnessed great changes in 2006. The number of moviegoers in 2006 increased 20-25% compared to the year before. The number of Vietnamese and international films in theatres also increased 25-30%. These signs mean that more and more people are going to the theatres now. Tet is always the season for Vietnamese movies. This year there will be only 3 films, so I’m not worried about mine.”

Mr.Thai Hoa, the vice director of the Giai Phong production company, was also full of confidence: ” In 2005, our Marrying a Saigon Girl received 6 billion dong in revenues though the movie was shown after Tet and had low investment.” In 2006, with the government investment of over 1 billion dong to help it compete with private companies, Giai Phong spent another 1 billion of its own budget in Shoot As It Rings (in theatres on February 13) to improve the film’s quality. “We plan to spend 200 million more for advertisement,” said Mr. Hoa.

The director of Phuoc Sang is busily preparing to bring Fighter Stories to Hong Kong after it spends Tet in Vietnam. He promised surprising commercials for this movie.

It is currently unclear which theatres will play which of the three films. This uncertainty is an annual concern of all Vietnamese producers except Thien Ngan, which has its own theatre complexes. However, with only 3 films and the addition of the Megastar theatres in Hanoi, the movie race during the coming Tet will perhaps be less tense than usual.

(Source: Tuoi tre) 

Producers promise Vietnamese films coming into their own

December 13, 2007


Homegrown film makers are promising an action-packed year with more films shot using state-of-the-art equipment, featuring great performances and cinematography.

Luu Phuoc Sang, head of Phuoc Sang Film Production Company – the most successful producer last year said his company was going ahead with its US$4 million horror film Muoi – a cooperative product with its Korean partner Bily Pictures.

Phuoc Sang’s Ao Lua Ha Dong (The White Silk Dress), a US$2 million, five-year production – the most expensive film ever for Vietnam that utilized the ‘flying-cam’ technique won the audience voted prize at the Busan International Film Festival 2006.

Phuoc Sang said he had invited Vietnamese overseas director Luu Huynh for another movie named Yeu (Love), with shooting to start this summer.

Sang added that his company was making three features – Bo lac sieu nhi (The super-tiny tribe), 9 nut (Nine points) , Chuot (Mouse) for the next Tet Lunar New Year holiday.

Phuoc Sang’s counterpart, Sena Film, is busy choosing actors and actress and shooting sites for the new film – Nhung chiec la thoi gian (The leaves of time).

Vimax Films, owned by Ngo Quang Hai – director of Vietnamese best film 2006 Chuyen cua Pao (Pao’s story) – is targeting his new production Mua he lanh leo (Cold summer) – the most anticipated film this year.

Head of state-owned Giai Phong Film Production Company – Le Duc Tien expressed his eagerness for the new film year.

“We will make several films for summer and next Tet holiday” while fulfilling last year’s projects – Gia mua mot thuong de (The cost of buying a God) , Trang noi day gieng (Moon in the bottom of the well),” Tien said.

During the Tet holiday last month, the latest offering from Phuoc Sang – Vo Lam Truyen Ky (Swordsman) – bagged some VND18 billion ($1.12 million) in ticket sales.

Reported by Tram Anh – Compiled by Luu Thi Hong