After two days of screening, April 26-28, at the WorldFest Houston International Film Festival, Saigon Eclipse directed by overseas Vietnamese Othello Khanh has won the jury’s special prize.

Saigon Eclipse is based on Vietnam’s literature classic, Tale of Kieu by legendary writer Nguyen Du. The film is about a modern Kieu who goes through a life full of difficulties and self-sacrifices.

Co-produced by Film Studio 1 and Canadian producer John Board, Saigon Eclipse stars Vietnamese actress Truong Ngoc Anh, overseas Vietnamese actors Dustin Nguyen and Johnny Tri Nguyen, French-Vietnamese Marjolaine Bui, Singaporean actor Tran Chi Tai and Joseph Chang Tseng from Hong Kong.

Saigon Eclipse has also been selected to take part in the Asian Pacific Film Festival held in Los Angeles, California, the US from May 3-10. It will be screened in Vietnam as of May 18.

The Worldfest Houston International Film Festival, one of the first three international film festivals in North America, is an annual film festival for independent and short films held in Houston, Texas, USA.

The festival has given first honors to such famous Hollywood names as Steven Spielberg, George Lucas, Ly An, Ridley Scott, and Brian De Palma.

Some 59 movies and 67 short films competed in this year’s festival. The highest prize, Remi for best movie, went to Chosyu Five by directors Noboru Maeda and Sho Igarashi. Different Drummers was awarded best screenplay. Death in Vegas won a Remi for best short film, and The Event was voted best experimental film/video. VNN

Two weeks of free movies in 194 Chemistry start Tuesday

By: Jackson Yan

Issue date: 5/7/07 Section: Arts & Entertainment

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After answering the age-old riddle, “What do women want?” with their short film Yellow Fever, Wesley Chan, Ted Fu and Philip Wang of Wong Fu Productions decided to do what most only dream about: produce a feature-length film before graduating from college.

“It was our last year, and we really wanted to do something big,” Fu said. “Why not tackle a feature [film]?”

The three banded together just before graduating from UC San Diego to produce A Moment With You, which will be screened Tuesday at the opening of the two-week-long Asian American Association Film Festival in Davis.

“These films are Asians playing regular roles,” said junior managerial economics and film studies major Khoa Nguyen, co-director of the Asian American Association Film Festival. “It doesn’t over-sexualize Asian women and it shows that Asian guys can get the girl.”

Operated by Nguyen and fellow director Chun Wai Tam, a senior international relations and communication major, the festival is in its fourth year of operation. Run by a collection of 16 students, the group’s mission is to promote Asian American arts and film.

In addition to A Moment With You, the event will showcase other films, including Korean blockbuster Typhoon, a movie about modern-day pirates. Typhoon was the most expensive film ever produced in Korea. In addition, Red Doors, which won best narrative feature at the 2005 Tribeca Film Festival, will be screened closing night May 18.

Wong Fu Productions has been on college tour throughout the country showcasing its hour-and-a-half feature, A Moment With You. They described it as an honest love story with two college guys navigating the tricky nature of love.

“We wanted to do a movie related to relationships,” Chan said. “We want people to connect with the characters’ emotions and we made it an honest and realistic view about love.”

Wong Fu Productions built a cult following outside of Hollywood with the help of youtube.com when a fan uploaded its most famous work, Yellow Fever, to the popular website. Over a million people have viewed its 15-minute short to date.

Continued…

 

 

“[Yellow Fever] wasn’t meant to break barriers or reshape stereotypes,” Chan said. “It was a playful comedy, but it blew up.”

Making its mark outside of Hollywood has allowed the trio to put Asian Americans in leading roles. The group’s fan base is built from grassroots and many are grateful for its work.

“We have been working independently,” Fu said. “So there is more of an Asian American interest. We want to be able to influence Asian Americans and bring them into the field. We get e-mails saying we inspire them and we’re very grateful and most proud of this.”

The trio from Wong Fu Productions will have a question-and-answer session after the screening. Nguyen, the co-director of the film festival, expects opening night to be the most popular and foresees a packed house in 194 Chemistry.

“All the girls want to take a picture with them,” Nguyen said.

Admission to the Asian American Association Film Festival in Davis is free and open to the public. All movies will be screened in 194 Chemistry. Tickets are advised but not required and can be picked up at the Memorial Union Information Desk. Members of the Asian American Association will also be tabling outside of the Memorial Union. The festival runs Tuesday to May 18. For more information on the film festival and the scheduled movies, visit aaafilm.org.

Screening schedule: Asian American Film Festival

A Moment With You – Tuesday, 7 p.m.
A Stranger of Mine and Below the Belt – Thursday, 7 p.m.
Typhoon and Vaudeville – Friday, 8 p.m.
“A Festival of Short (Films)” – May 15, 7 p.m.
Shinobi, Kiwi – May 17, 7 p.m.
Red Doors, Student Films Contest – May 18, 8 p.m.

All screenings are in 194 Chemistry and are free of charge.

JACKSON YAN can be reached at arts@californiaaggie.com.

 

 
   

A documentary film on the battle at Dien Bien Phu in 1954 that essentially put an end to 100 years of French colonialism in Vietnam aired on a French TV station Friday night.

France Channel 3 – the second largest French public television network showed the 65-minute-long film “Dien Bien Phu” made by director Patrick Jeudy in 2004, marking the 53rd anniversary of Vietnam’s Dien Bien Phu victory of May 7.

The film introduced a top secret report about the involvement of French military forces in Dien Bien Phu – the battle occurred between March and May 1954, and culminated in a massive French defeat that effectively ended the war.

As a result of blunders in the French decision-making process, the French undertook the creation of an air-supplied base at Dien Bien Phu, deep in the northern hills of Vietnam. Its purpose was to cut off Vietnamese force (Viet Minh) supply lines into the neighboring French colony of Laos, at the same time drawing the Viet Minh into a battle that would be their doom.

Instead, the Viet Minh, under General Vo Nguyen Giap, surrounded and besieged the French, who were ignorant of the Viet Minh’s possession of heavy artillery (including anti-aircraft guns) and their ability to move such weapons to mountain crests overlooking the French encampment.

The film also incorporated unforgettable memories of the French veterans about the battle, in which the French military ambitiously targeted building the most robust group of fortresses throughout the Indochina region.

It ended with the image of the surrender of the French force headed by General De Castries after only 56 days of the Dien Bien Phu Battle.

On Vietnam’s victory at Dien Bien Phu, Wikipedia website said it marked the first time that a non-European colonial independence movement had evolved through all the stages from guerrilla bands to a conventionally organized and equipped army able to defeat a modern Western occupier.

Source: VOV – Compiled by Luu Thi Hong

 
13:08′ 07/05/2007 (GMT+7)

Announcing the winner of the Golden Kite for best feature film
Announcing the winner of the Golden Kite for best feature film

VietNamNet Bridge – This year’s Golden Kite Awards has been wrapped up in controversy.

An unprecedented choice

The jury of this year’s Golden Kite brought a surprise to audience members and Vietnamese filmmakers: awarding prizes to films regardless of their “citizenship.”

Two of the most important titles, best leading actress and best feature film went to a joint product of Vietnamese and Chinese filmmakers, Hanoi, Hanoi (Hanoi, Hanoi shared the Golden Kite for best movie with a 100% Vietnamese film, White Silk Dress).

In the time of government subsidies, all films produced with foreign partners were tacitly considered products too heavy in political and cultural exchange contents to have high artistic and commercial values.

Later, when foreign filmmakers came to Vietnam to make “true” films like Indochina or the Quiet American, the role of Vietnamese producers in these joint-ventures was marginal. Vietnamese actors also played subsidiary roles which served only to give the films a foreign and exotic feel of Vietnam to attract foreign viewers.

A member of the 2004 Vietnam Film Festival’s jury once said that awarding films co-produced with foreign partners would be unfair to Vietnamese products since joint films were too heavily invested in not to be superior.

All of these reasons have led to an “unwritten law” that films with “foreign elements” are unlikely to receive domestic prizes. This law, however, was violated in this year’s Golden Kite, which paves the way for an award-winning prospect of joint-venture movies.

Controversy

Another surprise happened in the award night when two films, Hanoi, Hanoi and the White Silk Dress were both awarded the Golden Kite for best feature movie.

According to an insider, even representatives of VTV, one of the organizers of the award ceremony, like reporter Lai Van Sam, couldn’t help asking, “What does this mean? At worst, there could have been two Silver Kites. Why two Golden Kites now?”

The reason that two films shared the most important Golden Kite was surprising is that movies contesting in this year’s Golden Kite Awards were considered inferior to those in last year’s contest.

Director Ho Quang Minh, a member of the jury, said he was “completely taken by surprise” by the announcement.

“The decision to award the highest prize to two contestants is a very important decision, especially in international film festivals. Besides, this year’s contestants weren’t that good:” said director Minh.

“I remember our votes in the afternoon of May 4. We all agreed that 5 votes would be cast for Hanoi, Hanoi and 4 for the White Silk Dress. I thought that this year’s jury was brave and good enough to choose only one truly good film. It was cowardly to award two Golden Kites for best movie. They must have made their own decision regardless of what the jury said,” he added.

Musician Phu Quang, another jury member, said: “I was amazed at first, but later I understood: prizes and contests and exams in Vietnam are like that. On the afternoon before the award night, a jury member told me, ‘What if our votes are falsified?’”

“So right from the beginning, Ho Quang Minh and I asked the organizers, ‘How much decision-making power will we have?’ and the answered was that ‘Of course, you’ll have absolute power.’ We asked whether it was likely that the jury’s decision would be disregarded, and again, the answer was no.”

Head of the jury, Nguyen Thi Hong Ngat, was quoted by a newspaper on May 6 as saying: “The Golden Kite for two feature films was the decision of the jury and of course it was reached in a fair manner.”

“The jury members voted secretly, and only the chairman of the Vietnam Cinema Association was authorized to open the votes. Of the 9 secret votes, 4 were cast for each of the two winners and 1 was for a third nominee,” added Ms Ngat.

She later told Tien Phong newspaper that this result was imparted to her by Chairman Tran Luan Kim himself. She herself was also surprised.

People’s Artist Minh Chau, a jury member, said: “When voting, I work fairly. As for the final decision, only God knows how it will turn out!”

Though jury members were disgruntled with the result, the White Silk Dress’ producer, Phuoc Sang Film was perfectly happy. Head of the company said: “I was glad and not very surprised with the result. All of these years, private films have been treated unfairly, and we couldn’t say anything to protest. But the truth is always true, and true values live on.”

For the first time in the history of the Golden Kite, private production companies didn’t have to stand on the sideline watching state-owned studios receive prizes and hearing such comments as “private films are commercial and cheap.” Thus, when asked about this year’s awards, they had something optimistic and confident to say.

“From the angle of a producer, I think the number and quality of this year’s contestants truly reflect the current state of Vietnamese cinema. Of course, seven contestants are a very small number, but we can’t ask for more, given what Vietnamese cinema is now. I think recent works such as the White Silk Dress and the Rebel are the pride of producers like me. Vietnamese cinema can be said to be taking flight,” said producer of the White Silk Dress, Phuoc Sang.

(Source: Tuoi Tre, Tien Phong, VietNamNet)