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Culture Vulture (June. 26 2013)

Update: June, 26/2013 - 10:48

(VNS) The fifth International Documentary Film Festival is being hosted by the Viet Nam National Documentary and Scientific Film Studio and the European Union National Institute for Culture (EUNIC) in Ha Noi and HCM City.

Kicking off in 2009, the festival has attracted many professional filmmakers and documentary lovers over the years.

This year, several sideline activities such as the DocNet Summer School and the DocNet Southeast Asia Roundtable are also being held during the festival that will conclude tomorrow.

Culture Vulture interviewed Thai Mai Lan, one of the organisers, about the DocNet Summer School.

The DocNet Southeast Asia Summer School 2013 is being held for the second time on the sidelines of the 5th International Documentary Film Festival in Viet Nam. Could you tell us more about it?

Actually the DocNet Southeast Asia Summer School is being held for the first time in Viet Nam and for the second time in Southeast Asia. It is part of a regional project to support documentary filmmaking in Southeast Asia which the Goethe Institute initiated in January 2012 with funding from the EU.

The Summer School aims to bring together talented young documentary filmmakers and give them the opportunity to learn from international experts and from each other.

This year, the Goethe Institute Viet Nam in co-operation with the Viet Nam Institute of Culture and Art Studies (VICAS) invited over 20 filmmakers from Cambodia, Laos, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Thailand and Viet Nam to Ha Noi to attend a 10-day cinematography and editing workshop.

The tutors are Aurelie Ricard and Leonard Retel Helmrich. Ricard is a Paris-based film editor. Starting in the late-60s during the French new wave [Nouvelle Vague – a trend of making film], she has been working in her field for more than 40 years. Ricard has worked as an editor for cinema and TV productions, fictional films and documentaries.

Helmrich is a Dutch cinematographer and film director. His documentary films have received prestigious international honours, including the World Documentary Award at the Sundance Film Festival. Helmrich developed the so-called "Single Shot Cinema", a cinematography technique that involves long takes with a hand-held camera and smooth recording from various angles.

How were documentary film-makers selected to take part in the workshop? Where are they from?

The participants applied to an open call and presented their CVs and concepts for films they wanted to make. DocNet partners from each country selected a shortlist based on applicants' previous work and latest ideas. A panel consisting of filmmakers and tutors selected the final participants.

DocNet is looking for talented young documentary filmmakers who are eager to learn and contribute to the network.

What did the school bring to the participants and what do you expect them to do when the workshop is over?

The DocNet Summer School brought two renowned experts to Ha Noi to inspire and advise young filmmakers from Southeast Asia on their film projects. Connections to the international film scene were thus established.

We hope that the filmmakers will continue their projects and make high quality documentaries that can compete internationally.

How are the filmmakers, particularly the Vietnamese participants, benefiting from the course?

The tutors are teaching the participants creative skills such as new visual languages, camera work and editing. There have also been group discussions and one on one meetings with the tutors.

Furthermore, the school has given filmmakers the chance to network and make new friends from neighbouring countries, fostering co-productions in the region.

The summer school was co-organised by DocNet Southeast Asia and the Viet Nam Institute of Culture and Arts Studies. How has the co-operation progressed?

The co-operation with VICAS was excellent. Not only did we organise the DocNet Summer School, we also co-hosted the DocNet Round Table, which was another sideline event in the framework of the Documentary Film Festival. We plan to continue our co-operation with VICAS. — VNS


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