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Student animators score online hit

Update: August, 01/2012 - 09:59


Troubled waters: A scene in the 3D animated film Dai Chien Bach Dang (The Bach Dang Battle), depicts the battle on Bach Dang River against Chinese Han invaders. — File Photo
HCM CITY — A popular event in Vietnamese history has been depicted in a 3D animated film by a group of students at HCM City's Hong Bang University.

Dai Chien Bach Dang (The Bach Dang Battle), a six-minute film using 3D technology, features the battle on the Bach Dang River between Vietnamese forces led by Ngo Quyen and Chinese invaders under the Han dynasty in 938.

Created by six final-year students in industrial arts, Vu Duc Thinh, Dinh Ngoc Chinh, Nhu Thi Thuy Diep, Nguyen Thanh Duc, Tran Hau and Dang Minh Quyen, the film contains colourful, lively images and simple language.

It has attracted 70,000 viewers on YouTube.

"Through Dai Chien Bach Dang, our youngsters can learn bravery, honour and responsibility. They can improve their knowledge about history and learn about independence," a viewer from Ha Noi wrote in the comment section on YouTube.

"The victory is still new in the hearts of Vietnamese," he said.

Nguyen Thanh Duc, a member of the film crew, said they had worked hard to research documents and books about the nation's legendary hero Ngo Quyen and his victory.

The film's big scene depicts Ngo Quyen showing his troops how to place iron-headed spikes in the river-bed, which are invisible at high tide.

He launches a counter-attack at low tide, which makes the enemy's large boats run aground as they are pierced by the long stakes.

Duc said his group decided to feature the battle in their film because the victory of Bach Dang ended the 1,000-year rule of Chinese feudalism, opening a period of national independence and sovereignty.

Duc and his peers used modern technology, hoping to draw young people back to Vietnamese cartoons.

They could have made the film longer, but the students did not have enough money.

"Animated filmmakers should produce new works completely different from the Vietnamese ones, which only have boring pictures and contain very strict moral themes," Le Viet Thanh, a software designer, said. "High-tech, sophisticated productions attract children."

Afternoon cartoons on TV are a highlight for many children and young people, particularly those who live in remote areas. But up to 90 per cent or more of cartoons shown on TV have been produced overseas.

The Viet Nam Cartoon Studio (VCS) first produced cartoons on CDs in 1998, although the studio has made about 300 cartoons on film over the last 40 years.

Several thousand copies of the studio's cartoon CDs have been introduced into the domestic market as part of the studio's special promotion.

Many children enjoy the studio's CDs, which include Chiec Binh Vang (The Pot of Gold) and Chu Gau Vung Ve (The Clumsy Bear), which sell for VND50,000 each.

In 2010, the studio spent nearly VND7 billion (US$350,000) to make the 90-minute Chuyen Ve Nguoi Con Cua Rong (The Story of Dragon's Son), which won the Golden Lotus prize at the National Film Festival last year.

But this effort was a drop in the bucket compared to film companies' or television services' importation of hundreds of cartoon titles each year.

"To improve this situation, State-owned companies like VCS should co-operate with social organisations and private companies to improve their activities in business and education," director Pham Minh Tri of VCS said.

Both State-owned and private filmmakers should ask TV stations to reserve time to broadcast Vietnamese cartoons, many of which aim to increase children's appreciation for their parents, friends and country, he added. — VNS

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