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ASEAN sets sights on fostering film culture

Update: November, 03/2016 - 06:00
A scene in Zodiac 12: Five Steps of Love, a Vietnamese film screened in the ASEAN Film Programme. — Photo
Viet Nam News

HÀ NỘI — Filmmakers and producers gathered yesterday to discuss the potential for a regional cinema industry and for cooperation between countries in the ASEAN bloc during the Hanoi International Film Festival (HANIFF) from November 1-5.

They introduced the current status and development of cinema in their countries and considered ways to enhance co-operation and attract foreign producers.

Đỗ Duy Anh, deputy director of the Việt Nam Cinema Department, said that Việt Nam produced 41 films, 53 documentaries and 40 animated films last year. There are 138 cinemas in Việt Nam, receiving 51 million visitors per year and earning VNĐ2,300 billion (US$105 million) from ticket sales last year.

However, he admitted that the co-operation between Việt Nam and world cinemas in general and ASEAN countries’ cinemas in particular hasn’t developed.

“Việt Nam has hosted many foreign film crews, but we just supported them during the filming process and providing services,” said Anh.

“Apart from several film projects with South Korea and Japan, the bilateral co-operation between Việt Nam and ASEAN countries hasn’t developed dramatically.”

“In the near future, we expect that more and more films imported from ASEAN countries will be screened at Vietnamese cinemas. Now films from the US and South Korea seem to dominate the market of foreign films at the local box offices.”

The cinema managers in the regional countries suggested that Vietnamese Government should impliment more policies to encourage local filmmakers and attract foreign film crews.

Pok Borak, deputy director of Cambodia’s Cinema and Cultural Diffusion Department, said that as of September the country has had 53 foreign film project co-operate with France, the US and South Korea Malaysia.

“We create a good condition for foreign film producers, lend modern equipment so they don’t have to bring bulky goods to different locations and simplify the administrative procedures for them to have permission to shoot a film,” he said.

Wei Xuan Sim from the Singapore Film Commission, presented Help Yourself Project, established by local filmmaker Jack Neo.

Filmmakers from five ASEAN countries each create a 20-minute micro film, combined to form a 100-minute feature film. Each country takes the cost of producing and advertising its part.

“The big advantage is the members of this project benefit proceeds from distributing of the feature film in their countries, so, it saves money for all participants,” said Sim.

“Besides, filmmakers in my country also use crowdfunding form to raise fund from audience for their film projects,” she said.

Meanwhile, the Malaysian Government has developed its own incentives for content development specifically for film, television and other screen production, said Norashikin Ahmad Nor from the National Film Development Corporation Malaysia.

The Malaysian Government introduced the Film in Malaysia Incentives (FIMI) to provide an additional financial incentive for the production of creative content within Malaysia, and to encourage support for the Malaysian content production industry.

FIMI offers a 30 per cent cash rebate on all Qualifying Malaysian Production Expenditures (QMPE).

“This incentive will not only promote the creation of quality creative content, it will also make Malaysia a preferred destination and film production hub,” said Nor.

“That’s the way we encourage Malaysian film producers to produce high quality creative content for both domestic and international markets and attract foreign film producers to conduct film activities in Malaysia and to establish Malaysia as a destination for international filming.”

Films from members of ASEAN have always played an important part in Competition and Panorama in previous HANIFF. This year, for the first time, a selection of ASEAN films programmes is introduced opening a door to the world of plentiful and diversified cinemas of Southeast Asian countries ever being proud of rich ethnicity.

Nine cinematographic works are showcased bearing a common feature that reflects the strong transformation of culture and society in period of economic deveopment and integration of a dynamic and peace-loving ASEAN community.

More excitingly, most of films in ASEAN selection are about youth, about their concerns into career, loves, ideas, creation and discoveries. These themes play out in Diamond Island (Cambodia), What’s So Special about Rina (Brunei), Filosofi Kopi (Indonesia), Above it All (Laos), The Island Funeral (Thailand) and The Return (Singapore). Việt Nam introduces Zodiac 12: Five Steps of Love directed by Vũ Ngọc Phượng.

“Therefore, ASEAN film selection are not only filled with youthful, dynamic, optimistic feeling but also imbrued with deep humane philosophy which fascinates audiences,” said Ngô Phương Lan, head of the Cinema Department.

“ASEAN Film Programme in the fourth HANIFF surely creates cinematic bridge to help more understanding among ASEAN people, enable them to come closer together as well as to introduce to the world a lively bright future of the ASEAN community.” — VNS


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