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Vietnamese filmmakers urged to focus on art films

Update: April, 01/2019 - 09:00
Action film Hai Phượng (Furie), released in Feburary, has been a success in both domestic and foreign markets. Photo courtesy of the producer
Viet Nam News

HCM CITY – State-owned and private film studios should work together to produce more art films, experts said at a seminar held last Friday (March 29) in HCM City.

The seminar, organised by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, the HCM City University of Theatre and Cinematography and their partners, discussed challenges faced by the country’s movie industry.

Trần Luân Kim, former general secretary of the Việt Nam Cinema Association, said that Việt Nam’s film industry had seen a rise of entertaining films by private studios in recent years, but lacked art films.

Kim said that state-owned studios should work with private filmmakers to make films with serious topics reflecting the country’s politics, society and people.

In 2012, the Việt Nam Feature Film Studio cooperated with the giant private filmmaker Galaxy Studio to produce Những Người Viết Huyền Thoại (The Legend Makers), praising heroic soldiers who built petrol pipelines running from the north to southern battlefields during the war for national reunification.

The film won four Golden Lotus Awards at the National Film Festival in Quảng Ninh Province in 2013, including best feature film, best screenplay, and best leading actor and actress.

A film about childhood, Tôi Thấy Hoa Vàng Trên Cỏ Xanh (Yellow Flowers on the Green Grass), directed by Victor Vũ, was successful in 2015.

Produced by Galaxy Film Studio, Phương Nam Film and Saigon Concert Company (on a request made by the State’s Cinema Department), the film was a huge hit at the domestic box office, earning over VNĐ80 billion (US$3.6 million).

Most seminar participants agreed with Kim, but emphasised the important role of private filmmakers in the film industry.

People’s Artist and director Đào Bá Sơn said the country film’s industry this year has had high revenues. “The industry is now dominated by private filmmakers. Fortunately, they have invested in making quality films with good scripts.

In previous years, the market was full of films with poor scripts, he said.

Đỗ Lệnh Tú Hùng of the association said that private film studios were doing a good job, producing quality films such as Hai Phượng (Furie), Cô Ba Sài Gòn (The Tailor) and Song Lang.

Action film Hai Phượng, released on February 22, became Việt Nam’s highest grossing film which earned VNĐ200 billion (US$8.6 million) at the box office.

The distribution label Well Go USA Entertainment released the film in Dallas, Houston, Philadelphia, San Jose, Portland, Seattle and New York on March 1.

Netflix said it would buy the copyright for the film after its successful premiere in the US. The film will be screened widely in the US via TV and smart devices.

Hùng said that authorities should offer more support to both state-owned and private film studios to encourage them to produce more quality films with high artistry. – VNS 

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