ASEAN dreams to touch global movie goers

The 20th Vietnam Film Festival has dazzled the central coastal city of Da Nang for the last few days. This year features a new award’s ceremony for ASEAN motion pictures as part of celebrations for the bloc’s 50th founding anniversary. The festival and new award show the ASEAN countries’ movie makers dream to write their names on the world’s motion picture map.

Themed “Building a modern and humane cinematic industry”, the 20th Vietnam Film Festival aims to honour local cinematographic works featuring the traditional characteristics of creativity and pay tribute to movie makers and artists who have made outstanding contributions to the national movie industry.

Vietnam’s initiative to hold the ASEAN Film Awards within the framework of the festival is a highlight of the event, drawing great attention of ASEAN nations. Even though the awards are being held for the first time, 10 regional movies are competing.

“The award makes this year’s festival very significant as 2017 marks the 50th founding anniversary of ASEAN,” said Ngo Phuong Lan, Head of the Vietnam Cinematography Department. From now on, the ASEAN Film Awards will be held annually, Lan revealed.

Besides the ASEAN Film Awards, a seminar themed “Road for ASEAN movies to reach the world” was also held, gathering both Vietnamese and international motion picture experts and actors to discuss issues and prospects of the bloc’s cinema industry. Developing good plotlines, raising funds, cooperation among stakeholders and public relations were discussed during the seminar.

There are more and more Vietnamese films with incredibly high box office revenue and warm receptions from Vietnamese audiences. However, Vietnamese film still has a long way to go to integrate into the world’s film industry.

Film director Victor Vu said: “Foreign movie lovers may be into humane stories which can touch audiences, or say, a movie in which anyone can find themselves in despite their country of origin.”

He said Vietnam’s cultural traits and other distinctive values can also make a movie more attractive to foreign movie goers.

The motion picture industry of ASEAN in general and Vietnam in particular have a long way to go to touch international movie lovers. However, the ASEAN Film Awards and other activities are steps in the right direction.

Seminar highlights national film festival

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Exhibition on Vietnamese cinema displays about 200 photos and posters showing milestones from the previous 19 film festivals. 

Filmmakers and cinema experts at the seminar Việt Nam Film Festival in National Cinema Development, held alongside the 20th National Film Festival, agreed that the event has evolved over the years to increasingly reach international standards.

The seminar attracted managers, filmmakers, experts, producers and artists from the whole country. Though the film festival was first held in 1970, this year marked the first time it has included an event to review the role and significance of the festival in the history of Việt Nam’s cinema development.

"The film festival has been meaningful to encourage and orient filmmakers making their contributions to develop the national cinema industry," said Ngô Phương Lan, head of the Việt Nam Department of Cinema, at the seminar. "The film festival has changed its slogan to suit each period of its nearly 50-year history. It is closely approaching standards of international film festivals in the world."

At the seminar, participants discussed the role of the national film festival in recognising and promoting the country’s best cinematographic works before and after unification in 1975. The festival supported revolutionary heroism-themed movies and honoured them during the war time. After the war and during the renewal period, the film festivals have highlighted movies that addressed contemporary social issues and the struggles of post-war society.

"The film festivals have shown movies which help movie-goers get to know more about the national history," said People’s Artist Đặng Nhật Minh. 

Awarding-winning works at the film festivals have not only become subjects for researchers and curricula at art schools, but also represent Vietnamese cinema at the regional and international film festivals and film awards.

The 20th film festival launches the ASEAN Film Awards for the first time to mark the 50th anniversary of the founding of ASEAN. The two festivals illustrate the potential for national film festivals to support regional and international integration, according to film critic Trần Luân Kim, former chairman of Việt Nam Cinema Association.

"Screening and awarding ASEAN movies within the festival’s framework is a good idea," said Kim.

The ASEAN Film Awards will honour the best movie from nine submissions by Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand. The awards will be announced at the film festival closing ceremony on Tuesday.

The participants also discussed how to make the film festival popular and the importance of having favourable conditions for promoting filmmaking. Film producers also expressed that they need support from the cinema department to increase their competitiveness and reduce financial pressure.

Themed Building A Modern and Human Movie Industry, the 20th National Film Festival includes activities such as free outdoor screenings, seminars, an exhibition on Vietnamese cinema and exchanges between actors, directors, producers and audiences.


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