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Top 10 cultural events of the year

Update: December, 31/2015 - 09:06
 1. A decade of joyful singing from divo Tung Duong

Dubbed the "Divo of Viet Nam", Duong wowed audiences with his energetic voice as well as his endless creativity. Since he rose to fame by winning the Morning Star - Rendezvous 2004 singing contest, the singer has released a new album or live show every year. Duong's music won acclaim of both audiences and critics through co-operating with several famous composers. His recent concert, A Decade of Joyful Singing, was beyond praise. A local newspaper even wrote "it is very easy to compliment Duong, but it is very hard to find any mistake to criticise", referring to his live show.

2. Good Morning America broadcasts from inside Son Doong cave

Stunning images of Son Doong Cave in the central province of Quang Binh were broadcast by ABC's Good Morning America programme on May 13.

The images were like scenes from the Hollywood Avatar movie, with tropical forests, white sands, magnificent stalactites and beams of sunlight radiating from on high. Possibly the world's biggest cave, Son Doong was discovered by a farmer in 1991 and since then has featured in many international and domestic publications. But the ABC show was the first time a Vietnamese location was broadcast live to an American audience.

Six million viewers were stunned at the images of the cave, praising it as "paradise on Earth", "amazing", "breathtaking".

The magical world of Neverland in the Warner Brothers Feature Film's Pan was created using footage from Viet Nam's most famous natural landscapes, including Son Doong.

3. Monsoon Music Festival a bold addition to local music scene

Since debuting last year in Ha Noi, the Monsoon Music Festival was eagerly anticipated by music lovers. Inspired by outdoor music festivals in Europe and the US, the MMF, which is an initiative of music composer and producer Quoc Trung, won the Devotion Award for Music Show/Festival of the Year.

The four-day event in October attracted a line-up of famous international singers and bands including Grammy-winning soul singer Joss Stone, the best-selling string quartet Bond, British jazz singer Zara McFarlane, electronic band Samaris from Iceland, and guitarist Thomas Oliver from New Zealand.

The MMF repertoire also featured many of Viet Nam's favourite young artists. About 50,000 people attended the festival.

4. National fine arts exhibition, best art from 2011-15 displayed

The best art by Vietnamese artists between 2011-15 was displayed at the National Fine Arts Exhibition 2015 in Ha Noi in December.

More than 400 pieces including paintings, graphics, statues and video art were selected from more than 4,000 entries representing Viet Nam's fine arts during the five-year period

The panel selected the top 40 artworks for prizes. A monument featuring a heroic Vietnamese mother, made of granite stone by Dinh Gia Thang from the central city of Da Nang and a wood-carved painting titled A Di Da Phat (Buddha) by Nguyen Khac Han from the northern province of Bac Ninh, won gold medals.

The Viet Nam's Heroic Mothers monument was built in Tam Ky City in central Quang Nam Province.

The 18.5m-high granite stone monument has in its centre a statue of a heroic Vietnamese mother, modelled by mother Nguyen Thi Thu who had nine children, one son-in-law and one grandchild who perished during war time.

Inside the statue there are the names of nearly 50,000 heroic mothers, and stories telling about their lives and the contributions they made to the nation as well as pictures and art works related to the mothers.

5. Ha Noi international piano competition held

Viet Nam National Academy of Music (VNAM) hosted the 3rd Ha Noi international piano competition which gathered 55 competitors from nine countries and territories.

The competition, from September 4 to 11, attracted competitors from Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, mainland China, Ukraine and hosts Viet Nam.

The competition was held by VNAM and Ha Noi Chopin Association with sponsorship from Viettravel.

Vietnamese pianist Dang Thai Son, the first Asian to win a gold medal at the International Chopin Piano Competition in Warsaw in 1980, was the competition's honourable president and art director.

6. National Film Festival held in HCM City

The biennial national film festival was held successfully in HCM City from December 1 to 5, 2015.

It attracted 26 feature and video films, 33 documentaries, 23 animations and ten scientific films.

Toi Thay Hoa Vang Tren Co Xanh (Yellow Flowers on the Green Grass) won the Golden Lotus Award for best motion picture. The movie's Vietnamese-American director Victor Vu also scooped up the prize for best director.

It was commissioned by the State and produced by the HCM City-based Galaxy Studio.

The VND20 billion (US$899,000) work earned around VND80 billion ($3.6 million) in ticket sales.

The movie also won the best film award at the Silk Road International Film Festival in Fujian Province, China.

7. Viet Nam – South Korea produced television series a hit

The television series Tuoi Thanh Xuan (Forever Young), the first co-work by Viet Nam Television's Film Centre (VFC) and CJ E&M Pictures, one of South Korea's leading entertainment and media corporations made a splash this year.

The VFC project involved co-operation with Nguyen Khai Anh and Bui Tien Huy of Viet Nam, and Myung Hyun-woo of South Korea marking a turning point in the quality of Viet Nam's TV, as it is the first show made with professional cameras.

It also aired on South Korean cable channel Story. An English version of the series was expected to be also aired on Channel M, which broadcasts to Southeast Asia, Australia, Hong Kong and Taiwan.

Viet Nam's Nha Phuong won the Impressive Actress Award, while Korea's Kang Tae-oh won the Impressive Actor award at the Viet Nam Television Award 2015. The series also won the New Impressive Series award.

8. Viet Nam joins TPP for copyright protection

Viet Nam negotiated at the Trans Pacific Strategic Partnership Agreement (TPP) with new criteria relating to intellectual property protection.

Copyright violations remain a serious problem in Viet Nam despite a plethora of laws, especially with movies and music being pirated through the internet, causing losses of hundreds of millions of dollars.

Poet Phan Huyen Thu was taken away the award given to her poetry book Seo Doc Lap (Scars for Independence) due to a controversy about plagiarism. Poet Phan Ngoc Thuong Doan had issued her poems well before Thu's. The two had never met to settle the issue, either in or out of court.

Award-winning poet Nguyen Phan Que Mai was accused by Ngo Xuan Phuc as Phuc provided evidence showing that he was the author of To Quoc Goi Ten Minh (The Motherland Calls Us), the poem Mai signed her name under. This can be further taken to court, as Phuc had told the media he and his lawyer are working on gathering evidences.

9. Viet Nam Int'l Fashion Week showcases exceptional design talent

The second Viet Nam International Fashion Week in HCM City in December featured Vietnamese designers showcasing their collections along with their Asian and international counterparts.

Several big names in the world fashion industry such as the pioneer of Japanese fashion, Yumi Katsura; Indonesia's "King of fashion", Sebastian Gunawan; France-based Julien Fournie and South Korea's Zio Song, presented their collections at the event.

Representing Viet Nam were eight leading designers, including Adrian Anh Tuan, Chung Thanh Phong, Thuy Nguyen and Nguyen Cong Tri.

Kenzo Takada, founder of the worldwide brand of perfumes and clothes, Kenzo, and is currently the acting Honorary President of the Asian Couture Federation, is among special guest of the fashion event.

10. Keo co recognised as multinational cultural heritage

Keo co, the tug of war ritual and game of Viet Nam, Cambodia, the Philippines and South Korea, has been officially recognised as an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

The decision was made at the 10th session of the UNESCO Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage in Namibia.

The folk game is unique cultural heritage that is played in many countries in the Asia Pacific region. It aims to pray for abundant harvests and prosperity. They mark the start of the agricultural cycle and often begin with commemorative rites to local deities.

Keo co (tug of war) is an ancient folk game of Vietnamese ethnic minority groups and played by generations in the country. This is the first time Viet Nam has had a multinational heritage recognised. — VNS

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