Hometown favourites: Chuyen Tinh Xa Xu (Passport to Love) is a romantic comedy that won Favourite Film at the 2008 Golden Kite Awards. — File Photo
HCM CITY — Although Viet Nam's film industry is a promising market, it is still in need of more professional talent and technology, according to overseas Vietnamese directors.
Speaking at the 6th Annual Southeast Asia Cinema Conference, the young Vietnamese-American director Victor Vu called on local cinema authorities and filmmakers to offer more support to overseas Vietnamese directors.
The conference, which closed in HCM City last weekend, was organised by Dr Khoo Gailk Cheng of the Australian National University (ANU).
"Without help, including preferential policies, for filmmaking and distribution, overseas filmmakers will find it difficult to produce quality films here," Vu said.
Vu said the country's film industry had developed rapidly in recent years, thanks to more overseas Vietnamese filmmakers returning here.
However, to produce quality films to meet the taste of local audiences, overseas Vietnamese directors should learn more about the country's culture and lifestyle, he said.
Vu believed that building good business relations between local and overseas filmmakers "would help to develop the industry professionally".
Vu's film Chuyen Tinh Xa Xu (Passport to Love) is a romantic comedy that won the title Favourite Film at the 2008 Golden Kite Award given by the Viet Nam Cinematography Association. The film was distributed in Viet Nam and the US.
Vu and his producer spent a great deal of money to film Chuyen Tinh Xa Xu in HCM City and southern California.
His film also attracted visual effects director Peter Soto, composer Christopher Wong, costume designer Michelle Ngo and actress Kathy Uyen, all of whom left a fresh impression on Vietnamese audiences.
"My film is about the work and love of Vietnamese urban youth," said Vu, adding that he had learned a lot about the country's history, traditional culture and lifestyle after filming.
Vu said his second film in Viet Nam called Giao Lo Dinh Menh (Inferno) would be released later this year after nearly two years of filming. The film attracted dozens of local stars such as Vu Thu Phuong, Tang Bao Quyen and Tran Binh Minh.
"I see my future here," he said.
Vietnamese-American director Nguyen Trong Khoa agreed with Vu and called on cinema owners to give more help to both local and overseas Vietnamese filmmakers of serious and commercial films. Khoa said the film industries of South Korea and China had achieved good results because "cinemas must give priority to screen more local than foreign films."
Khoa's 14 Ngay Phep (14 Days) won best leading actor and best supporting actor at the Golden Kite Prize last year.
In HCM City, the film was in cinemas for only seven weeks, although Hollywood films are released for 14 weeks.
As a result, many Vietnamese only know about 14 Ngay Phep through newspapers and magazines.
The way of doing business has created an unfair environment for local filmmakers, including overseas Vietnamese ones, particularly those who often produce serious films with an educational goal instead of purely commercial and entertainment-driven features.
The editor-in-chief of Asian Cinema magazine, professor John A.Lent, said the wave of overseas Vietnamese filmmakers returning to Viet Nam to produce films would help to diversify the country's local film market.
He also urged cinema authorities to invest more in human resources training in the film sector as well as upgrade technology.
The film conference attracted 50 foreign, Vietnamese and overseas Vietnamese participants who have experience in the film business. — VNS