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Tree-huggers inspire new documentary

Update: April, 07/2015 - 09:14
\Too precious to lose: Ha Noi's tree-lined streets have charmed many people. — Photo wikitravel.org
Entitled, 6,700 Nguoi Vi 6,700 Cay Xanh (6,700 People for 6,700 Trees), a one-hour documentary talks about Ha Noi residents' love of trees.

The film aims to accurately reflect the implications of the recent decision taken by Ha Noi authorities to cut trees within the city and the necessity for community participation in urban development projects.

The message the film tries to convey is "Do Thi Vi Nhan Sinh", or "Cities for People", which emphasises on human values in architectural and urban spaces.

The documentary is a co-production of the Am-Architecture Movies Club (Ashui), Ha Noi Lovers, a popular online community and the Viet Nam Urban Planning and Development Association.

Award-winning film director Dang Nhat Minh also consulted on the film.

Once finished, the film will reflect many peculiarities: most of its producers are architects; its content is based on a currently controversial topic; it is expected to be finished within a month and released for free; and a portion of its content will be contributed by the community.

According to the producers, the idea for the documentary was inspired by a film called Urbanized, the third part of Gary Hustwit's design film trilogy.

The film is about the consequences of the urbanisation process in cities around the world. It ended with the story of Stuttgart in Germany and the S21 project centred on building a railway, for which trees had to be felled and remarkable buildings destroyed.

The idea for 6,700 Nguoi Vi 6,700 Cay Xanh also stemmed from the recent felling of trees for a monorail project in Ha Noi and the replacement of 6,700 trees with new ones, which has outraged the public in the city.

One advantage of the film production was the documents available about Ha Noi, which were acquired through the Ha Noi Fly project conducted by Ashui, Ha Noi Lovers and the Ha Noi Fly groups. The project had won the Idea Prize at the 2014 ‘Bui Xuan Phai – For Love of Ha Noi' Awards.

"The Ha Noi Fly Project has preserved precious pictures of trees within the city before they are cut down. We will continue to utilise a flying camera to capture the new state and then compare," said architect Le Viet Ha, who is also the head of Ashui.

In addition to the available resource of documents, the production team also received plenty of valuable photographs contributed by netizens via the fan page of the film on Facebook. They were greatly surprised that many of the pictures had been captured so meticulously and creatively.

"We have received a great deal of pictures, which have helped us understand the community's spirit and Hanoians' affection for the rows of trees in the city", Ha said.

The producers have also emphasised that the documentary was a joint production of thousands of Hanoians, and not only the Am-Architecture Movies Club.

In an interview with The Thao&Van Hoa (Sports&Culture) newspaper, architect Ha said the filmmakers were not feeling any pressure of expectation from the community, which will be their future viewers, because they were not only concerned about the final product, but had also directly contributed to its making.

"In terms of quality, I believe the film will attract a large number of audiences," Ha continued.

"In order to finish the film in a short period of time, the producers had to be divided into small teams, who were then put in charge of different process, such as compiling documents, managing shooting techniques or finishing the script."

The Ha Noi People's Committee recently gave permission to the Construction Department to cut 6,700 old trees in 10 districts of the city and replace them with new ones. The plan had outraged the public as many healthy old trees would be chopped down as part of the plan.

The documentary was a result of the public outcry against Ha Noi authorities' plan being implemented. — VNS

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