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Culture Vulture (21-01-2015),

Update: January, 21/2015 - 08:09
Loic Wong (right), audiovisual attache of the French Institute, speaks at the press conference which aims to introduce the festival. — Photo Vnexpress
Clap! Hanoi 2015, Viet Nam's first festival for emerging Vietnamese and French filmmakers, will be held in Ha Noi until this Sunday.

The festival highlights seven different genres from film, television and on-line media: TV shortcoms, reality, short films, video art, young directors' first feature films, web content and TV series.

Bach Lien talked with Loic Wong (LW), an audiovisuel attache, and Elise Bourmaud-Danto (EBD), an audio-visual programmer, from the French Institute which organized the festival.

What inspired the idea of creating the festival?

LW: I proposed the idea to the director of the French Institute in Viet Nam eight months ago. Part of our mission at the Institute is to promote French culture and create a partnership with Vietnamese creators.

At first, we had a lot of different ideas. One was organising a festival of short films that threw a spotlight on new cinema talents.

We quickly saw that there are a lot of other ways to format films and stories. Clap! festival then came to our mind; we wanted to show a variety of film genres presented in the different mediums of cinema, television and on-line media.

It's the first time a festival of this kind has been organised in Viet Nam. Is this also true for France?

LW: This kind of film festival has not existed in France. In France festivals are strictly classified with precise categories. There are festivals for short films, festivals for very short films (three minutes maximum) and festivals for television. There hasn't been a festival like this which regroups everything.

In Hanoi, we managed to think of a new way to present video made by new talents.

What do you think about the quality of film made by young Vietnamese directors?

EBD: When lived in France, the only thing I knew of Vietnamese cinema was the famous film Mui Du Du Xanh (The Scent of the Green Papaya), made by Tran Anh Hung, the most well-known Vietnamese film director in France.

Since living in Viet Nam and working on this festival, I've discovered many interesting Vietnamese films.

I had to select the six best films made in the "48h film project" to present at the festival. It took several days to select those six films. I had to watch 200 films made in Ha Noi and HCM City since 2010.

The films were made by young amateurs who had never studied film making.

At the beginning, I was a bit afraid that cultural differences between the two countries would prevent me from understanding the films. Then I watched them and was very impressed by their quality.

I also love the film Dap Canh Giua Khong Trung (Flapping in the middle of Nowhere) by Nguyen Hoang Diep. It was made with a lot of humanism.

Why did you choose Rap news +, produced by the online newspaper Vietnam +, to present it in Best of Web videos of the festival?

EBD: I spent a lot of time searching for web content on the Internet and I was excited to find Rap News +, which raps the news over rap music. I was immediately seduced.

I chose it because I find it amazing – this kind of news does not exist in France.

It's an excellent opportunity to make information sharing more dynamic; to make young people more interested in international news.

What do you hope will come from the festival?

LW: We hope that the festival helps promote French content as well as contribute to the development of Viet Nam's media industry.

More concretely, we hope that some films formats like TV series, short films and new types of web content will be further developed in Viet Nam or bought here.

We worked with some French societies to bring them here to sell programmes or propose new programmes for Viet Nam. We hope to help them.

We wish for the festival to inspire Vietnamese creators to create more web content, new TV series and short films.

A French TV show, L'Oeil de links (The Eye of the Links), will be presented to the public on Friday night. Can you explain how you believe it may help young Vietnamese directors?

EBD: L'Oeil de Links is a TV show on Canal Plus (French television channel) and is a collaborative show devoted to making a creative web platform that exists based off the contributions of everyone. Anyone can contribute just by sending in videos they find creative. The contributor then gets to present the video on television.

On Friday night audiences in Ha Noi will meet and talk with the programme's producer, Catou Lairet. She is interested in finding Vietnamese artists who can make creative videos to put on the show, or some contributors who can send the show interesting web videos.

What else does the French government do to help develop artistic talents in Viet Nam?

LW: We have had a programme, for several years now, that supports international creative ventures.

Every year we hold several international workshops and invite young directors in Viet Nam and in other countries to present ideas for film projects to be financed and produced with our aid. Normally, they are projects for feature-length films.

To name one, there's a professional film-maker training workshop called "Produire au Sud" (Produce in the South), which has been held every year in December in Nantes city for 20 years. At the festival, project markets are created by organising meetings and seminars where young directors can present their film proposals. There they can meet potential investors and producers to help them make the film happen.

In 2014, an additional workshop was held for ASEAN film professionals in Bangkok.

The French government also offers financial support specifically for cinema called "L' Aide aux cinemas du monde" (World Cinema Support). It was created in 2012 and is a new selective fund dedicated to international co-productions. — VNS

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