18th National Film Fest brings stars to Haï Long City
Almost 50 films have registered to partake in the glitzy event and we outline the ones to watch with insights from those involved behind and in front of the screen.
According to the culture ministry’s Cinematography Department, almost 50 films have registered to partake in the event from October 11-15. Here we outline the ones to watch with insights from those involved behind and in front of the screen.
Noted director Phaïm Nhueä Giang's latest work Laïc Loái (Lost) will vie for the Golden Lotus Award. The film, which has already received critical acclaim, explores the topics of love, family and social disorder.
Each film festival is characterised by its own criteria and its respective jury's preferences. Lost is an art film. If the jury do not support this genre compared to more commercial fare, I won't have high hopes for Lost, even though it received a silver prize at the Golden Kite Awards 2012 early this year.
At international film festivals, art movies receive proper recognition, whereas in Vieät Nam this genre is too often forgotten. We are regularly financially unable to produce movies, never mind promote them. The public are increasingly investing in the film industry, but mostly towards commercial movies.
A local film distributor and I have worked together to present the film this month. However, due to the lack of financing, Lost cannot hit screen nationwide. To have enough money for the film, which cost around 3 billion ñoàng (US$140,000), I spent years asking for financial support. Eventually, three foreign funds helped with 2 billion ñoàng, while me and a friend raised 1 billion ñoàng.
It's sad that whenever a film is not screened, directors are often blamed for being unconcerned with what the public want to see.
All my friends and colleagues who have watched Lost have told me that they like it very much. My illustrious colleague Ñaëng Nhaät Minh [a jury member at the Golden Kite Awards 2012], told me that Lost is my best work.
More importantly, what they told me is that the film depicts a real story of life and all of its severity. Characters in the movie all present two faces of life, the good and the bad. The problems they face, whether rich or poor, present darkness and light. Each character has their own tragedy, but none of them lose their most human value, their humanity.
What I find hard in making serious movies is finding money. Domestic financial sources no longer fund this film category, so we must depend on foreign sources.
For any project, I need to persuade foreign sponsors not only with the script - which needs to approach contemporary Vietnamese society - but also the artistic values and vision of the film. Nevertheless, in times of economic hardship, the sponsors themselves have to make big cuts to financing.
Lyù Thaùi Duõng, the key cameraman behind feature film Nhöõng Ngöôøi Vieát Huyeàn Thoaïi (The Legend Makers).
The Legend Makers is one of my favourite historical movies. This moving wartime story takes place about 50 years ago, but it's told from a fresh angle by director Buøi Tuaán Duõng. The film depicts one of the most vibrant periods of the country's history, focusing on the construction of an oil pipeline along the Tröôøng Sôn mountain range [by General Ñinh Ñöùc Thieän and his soldiers]. They are legendary characters who contributed great efforts to the cause of national liberation.
The first difficulty we encountered during production was financial. It was also hard to find weapons to use as props. Those found in museums are not only insufficient; they are also quite old. The Legend Makers depicts the battlefields in the south and in the north where the resistance against the US air war took place. At that time, the soldiers' uniforms and their equipment were quite new.
Another difficulty was finding warplanes. But with financial support from a local firm, we used digital technology to create the image of fighting planes in the air. Digital technology is so important in filmmaking. It can make the impossible possible.
The Legend Makers targets young audiences, encouraging them to understand how their fathers' and grandfathers' generations lived and fought for the nation. I really look forward to screening it to the public and receiving their response.
I'm not young anymore, so I do not think as much of awards as when I was young. I just hope the film festival will give us, who work in the field, the chance to understand what's going on in the Vietnamese movie industry.
Whether a movie wins a prize depends on the festival criteria and the jury's taste. Just because a film wins an award doesn't mean it's any better than another film. The Vietnamese film industry is small, so it's hard to include many different categories in each festival.
I have been invited to be on the jury for many film festivals, but I often had to say no because my films were going to be shown at those festivals. To name a few such instances, I won both the Golden Lotus Award and the Golden Kite Award in 2009 for shooting Chôi Vôi (Adrift) by director Buøi
Thaïc Chuyeân. Then I was nominated for Best Cameraman at the Asian Film Awards 2009 for Adrift. Thung Luõng Hoang Vaéng (The Deserted Valley) by director Phaïm Nhueä Giang brought me the Golden Lotus Award for Best Cameraman in 2001.
Rock singer and freelance actor Phaïm Anh Khoa, who stars as Loäc in the recently released Ñöôøng Ñua (The Race), has received his first nomination for the Best Actor Award.
It was a big surprise for me, a freelancer who never thought of devoting his whole life to the cinema. The feeling, I think, would be the same for anyone who is nominated for the first time.
But then come feelings of worry. Any award or nomination often gives rise to pressures. I do not want to face any irrational pressures apart from those directly related to professionalism. Being nominated for an award category in a big playing field like the national film festival is of significance to me. It shows that all the efforts I have made have been worth it.
The nomination makes me believe I'm completely able in this new field. It's a matter of ability, not luck. I always work for the love of music or cinema, not for awards. Is the nomination important to me? It depends on whether I stay longer with the movie industry or not.
My love with the cinema industry is in its early days so things seem to be rosy. In the long run, I suppose it will be full of challenges like in the music industry that I'm pursuing and want to devote my whole life to. It is easy for an artist to fall in love with an art. It's important that one understands they are capable of following their choice. I'm well aware that I have a strong "can-do" attitude. I wish I had plenty of time to sing, act, dance, and emcee.
Temporarily, I am working in both music and film. To some extends, these two fields supplement each other quite well. An obvious advantage is that being a performance artist on stage enables me to act naturally in front of cameras.
In The Race I live the real life of Loäc. And I have learned many useful lessons through obstacles that Loäc encountered. Many times, his life is reduced to a dilemma and Loäc must seek solutions. These challenges sometimes bring a positive results. The character has enriched my life experience.
I know there are many other colleagues in the film industry who deserve the nomination more than me, a new player who has experienced screen life in just two movies.
A corner of the world heritage site Haï Long Bay in Quaûng Ninh Province’s Haï Long City, the salubrious setting for the 18th National Film Festival.