Viet Nam News
By Trần Hoàng Nam
A turning point in Vietnamese cartoon history has been marked with the recent launch of the first three episodes of the cartoon series Monta Trong Dải Ngân Hà Kỳ Cục (Monta in a Weird Galaxy).
The brainchild of 70 painters working at VinTaTa Film Company over six months, the cartoon features the adventures of a monkey named Monta and his friends. The story starts with a naughty action in the kitchen of the Great Chef, which results in the chaotic creation of weird planets. The Great Chef forces Monta to restore the order of the galaxy as it used to be.
The script was based on one titled “The Whale Hunters” by a group of Vietnamese authors with the support of popular playwright Jeffrey Scott.
Save the universe: Monkey Monta in the cartoon.
“The first advantages of the cartoon are the images with eye-catching colours and characters with friendly formations to children,” parent Hà Hoàng, who took her children to see to cartoon, told Việt Nam News. “The series suits children ages 3 to 10.”
Most of the children at the first trial screening raised their hands when asked “Do you like the cartoon?”
“It’s like a cartoon on the Cartoon Network,” commented 9-year-old Phạm Bình.
Researcher Nguyễn Thị Minh Thái said this was the first cartoon made in Việt Nam using the international cartoon drawing style.
“This is a huge advance in realising the dream of bringing Vietnamese cartoons to screen in cinemas as a commercial product,” she said.
Trần Thị Thu Hiền, general director of Việt Nam Cartoon Company, praised the work of private companies to join in producing cartoons.
Next generation: Some artists at VinTaTa.
“Each company will have its own opportunity to explore topics, apply its own technology to diversify cartoon products in order to provide junior audiences with interesting entertainment,” she said.
Director Nguyễn Hà Bắc, who has worked in the cartoon field for 40 years, praised VinTaTa’s advance as the newly established company has published three episodes of the cartoon, each 20 minutes long.
"In order to complete 60 minutes of screening, I understand that artists from VinTaTa have dealt with a huge amount of work in such a short time," he said. "And the quality of the cartoon is so admirable. The advancement by VinTaTa means happiness for cartoon makers like me."
According to film director Đặng Nhật Minh, the number of cartoons made by State-own companies is too limited to serve children.
“It’s good if a private company has invested a large sum of money to produce cartoons,” he said.
Each year, the State invests in producing 10 short cartoons. The State also calls for private investment.
Fun cartoon: Poster of the cartoon
“Hardly any one dares to produce cartoons as the income is a head-aching problem,” he said. “People now prefer to produce entertaining films for teens and adults, which more quickly yield money back.
Last year, an episode titled Con Rồng Cháu Tiên (Descendants of Dragon and Fairy) lasting for 23 minutes was produced at a cost of VNĐ2 billion (US$85,900) by 100 artists over six months.
The work was considered an advance in the field though it was judged to not yet reach international standards, according to experts.
“Producing cartoons is taking a risk,” said Thái. “Because it requires lots of capital, modern technology and may yield less profit than an easy-going entertaining movie.”
“In the past, audiences might just pay attention to content of the cartoon,” she said. “Yet now people also care about images, rhythm, sounds, voice over, language, message of the cartoon. Hence Vietnamese cartoon makers should change their ideology in creation to combine international influences.”
“We need to have investors who take risks and think for the children,” she said. — VNS