HA NOI — Viet Nam Television (VTV) has made a lot of investment on shooting projects abroad, with participation from various foreign actors, despite current economic difficulties.
|Milestone movie: The film Hai Phia Chan Troi (Two Sides of the Horizon) was shot abroad with foreign actors and has set a record for the cost of a Vietnamese television programme.
Hai Phia Chan Troi (Two Sides of the Horizon), to be released this November, has set the record for the most expensive VTV film to date.
The project kicked off in March under direction of the Viet Nam Television Film Centre (VFC), and the Vietnamese People Association in the Czech Republic, where most of the filming took place, apart from some scenes captured in Viet Nam, Germany and Ukraine.
The 33-minute initiative is based on the novel Mau Cua Tuyet (The Blood of Snow) written by Tran Hoai Van, a moving story about Vietnamese people who have to earn livings as migrants far from their homeland.
Last year, Van and writer Pham Ngoc Tien travelled to the Czech Republic and Poland to research the real life of Vietnamese based there while collecting material for a film script.
Vietnamese actors were joined on set by various foreign counterparts, including Andrea Aybar Carmona, a Spanish model now living in Ha Noi. It also proved a first-time experience for German-Vietnamese actor Lam Vissay in working with a local film crew.
"I'm happy to have participated in a Vietnamese television series," he said. "We spent a memorable time shooting from 6am to 10pm each day without stop. Once we even worked through heavy snow in temperatures of around -25oC."
Contrary to tradition, this is the first time the Vietnamese film industry has invested in a film shot mostly abroad.
Contexts and stories for making films in the country were next to exhausted, which was why shooting abroad could open up new avenues of creativity and emotion, said VFC Director Do Thanh Hai.
Director Tran Quoc Trong estimated that each episode of the series cost VND300 million (US$14,000).
"The film crew tried to curb expenses to make the film at as little a cost as possible," he said. "Working with foreign actors who can't speak Vietnamese also proved difficult."
Another project, Bi Mat Tam Giac Vang (Secret of Golden Triangle) directed by Nguyen Duong, may set another budget record.
The 40-episode series based on an historic drug crime will start production in Viet Nam, Laos, Thailand and Myanmar next month. The series may receive investment of VND500 million ($24,000) for each episode.
"Projects carried out abroad are much more expensive than those made in Viet Nam," said Nguyen Ha Nam, head of the VTV secretariat.
"We will focus on film quality and increase investment if required," he added. — VNS