Documentary maker spreads human stories from hospital during the pandemic

November, 03/2021 - 09:32

Việt Nam National Television (VTV) has aired recently two documentaries with touching stories of health workers helping pregnant women with COVID-19. The documentaries were shot at Hùng Vương Hospital in HCM City. Đại Đoàn Kết (Great Unity) newspaper reporter Mai Lữ spoke with director Tạ Quỳnh Tư about the films.

 

Documentary maker Tạ Quỳnh Tư. — Photo daidoanket.vn

Việt Nam National Television (VTV) has recently aired two documentaries with touching stories of health workers helping pregnant women with COVID-19. The documentaries were shot at Hùng Vương Hospital in HCM City. Đại Đoàn Kết (Great Unity) newspaper reporter Mai Lữ spoke with director Tạ Quỳnh Tư about the films.

Documentary Ranh Giới (Boundary) was produced by you and cameraman in 22 days. Could you tell more about the film production?

During the high peak of the pandemic, we were sent to HCM City supporting VTV’s Channel 9.

Ordinary people suffered during the pandemic but pregnant women suffered more. The health system is under more pressure to keep mothers and babies safe.

We arrived in HCM City on July 31 and we worked for 15 consecutively days at Hùng Vương Hospital before shooting scenes outside the hospital.

What were the difficulties you faced producing the film?

We knew that we only had a short space of time and we could have been infected with COVID-19. We worked with determined spirit and as quickly as possible.

Many health workers have also been infected but they have a strong spirit and energy which gives a lot of strength to the patients and other people. We were inspired by their resilience and the sacrifices they made.

We had to ensure the film was truthful and objective and we could not disturb the everyday work of the hospital staff.

Are you satisfied with the film or do you have any regrets?

Actually there are a lot of regrets from the filming and editing but that is often the case. We tried our best to complete the film in time to broadcast during the highest peak of the pandemic. We needed to tell the story of the hospital staff at that time. Sometimes, there are situations that reduced me to tears and gave me sleepless nights thinking about the film.

What surprises did you encounter during production?

In a scene at the end of Boundary, a father tried to see his daughter for the very last time at the hospital but he could not. At that time, a nurse gave him photos of his daughter showing her final moments before she died. It was really emotional to shoot this scene.  

When I asked the nurse about her actions, she said that she and other health workers always want to do something for the families of the unfortunate patients.

I also asked them if it was ok to broadcast that scene and they agreed because they thought that it showed a real human side.

The second film Ngày Con Chào Đời (The Day You Were Born) is seen as the second episode of Boundary, shooting the health workers helping pregnant patients to give birth safely.

The film tells stories of new-born babies in the pandemic and shows the will and determination of all those involved, the health workers, babies and the parents. 

A still from The Day You Were Born by director Tạ Quỳnh Tư. — Photo courtesy of the producer

What message do you want to convey through the films?

I think that life always has certain boundaries. Will, faith and love make us overcome all boundaries in some way.

I am deeply grateful to the health workers, patients and their families who have endured hardships and yet decided to share their stories. Their great sacrifice helps the audience see a fierce reality and people will be more aware of the spirit of solidarity through these very human stories. — VNS

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