23:18′ 22/04/2007 (GMT+7)

VietNamNet Bridge – Len Aldis, Secretary of the Britain-Vietnam Friendship Society (BVFS), called at the Cambridge University on April 19 to rally support for Vietnamese Agent Orange (AO) victims in their lawsuit against US defoliant producers.

The Briton man provided students with stories of physical and mental pains suffered day by day by Vietnamese AO victims who he have met during his visits to the country.

He said that more than 30 years after the war in Vietnam, the herbicides sprayed by the US Army have left severe consequences on three successive generations of Vietnamese people. However, they have not yet received any compensation from the US.

Len Aldis added that the Vietnam Association of Victims of Agent Orange/Dioxin (VAVA), in January 2004, filed a lawsuit against more than 30 US chemical companies which had produced herbicides for the US Army during the war in Vietnam. The US courts had rejected their petitions, but in the meantime, asked the chemical companies to pay compensations for American veterans during the Vietnam War.

Aldis affirmed that this was actually an unjust action; therefore, people worldwide should continue to support Vietnamese AO victims in the fight for justice.

The conversation was part of a campaign, which was held by the BVFS at universities throughout Britain, to support Vietnamese AO victims. Len Aldis plans to hold more conversations at the universities of Nottingham, Birmingham and Manchester.

(Source: VNA)

 
12:11′ 24/04/2007 (GMT+7)

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VietNamNet Bridge – Sixty-six girls at the age of 18-20 from poor rural areas in southern provinces gathered at a house in HCM City for an inspection by Korean grooms.

 

HCM City police on April 23 caught two Korean people red-handed, including two men and one woman who were ‘seeing 66 prospective brides’ at a house in Ward 4, District 10, HCM City.

 

The house’s owner, Thang Ngai Linh, age 45, 66 girls, three Korean men and another woman named Thi Vinh Khuong, 41, had to come to the local police station for investigation.

 

Linh and Khuong declared that they organized the ‘meeting’ for these Korean men and 66 girls, who had to pay fees to those illegal matchmakers.

 

At the house, the girls had to be nude for ‘body inspection’ by the Koreans, hoping to be chosen as brides.

 

Previously HCM City police discovered a similar case. However, as illegal matchmakers were fined only, this illegal service has boomed in HCM City recently, seriously affecting the dignity of Vietnamese women.

 

Phan Cong


The HCM City Department of Education and Training has opened a new programme to encourage high school students to study Vietnamese history more thoroughly.

From April 19 to May 20, 200 large banners with brief biographies of 24 famous Vietnamese figures, including Ho Chi Minh, Dang Van Ngu, Dao Duy Anh, Huynh Tan Phat, Le Duan and Le Duc Tho, will be hung at 14 high schools in the city.

The education and training department said that if the programme was effective it would be applied in all high schools in the city.

 
17:19′ 11/05/2007 (GMT+7)

VietNamNet Bridge – A delegation of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences has come to HCMC to participate in the American Film Week here beginning May 7.

Among them is Tom Pollock, a well-known figure who has held senior posts in MCA Inc. including vice chairman, executive vice president, and chairman of its motion picture group Universal Pictures for ten years (1986-1995).

He talks with The Saigon Times Daily on what he has perceived of a developing filmmaking industry in Vietnam. Excerpts follow.

How is your five days in Hanoi during the American Film Week there?

Well, we first met with the Vietnam Cinematography Department and the Ministry of Culture and Information and spent a lot of time with the filmmakers, associations, film schools of the universities.

The best part (of the trip) for us is meeting with the filmmakers. The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences (in the US) that gives out the Oscar is not an organization of studios but it is basically an association of filmmakers just like the Vietnamese Association that gives out the Golden Kite Award.

So we are a group of filmmakers and for us the most interesting part is to meet the people who actually make the films in Vietnam.

What is your opinion about filmmakers in Vietnam?

What we found out very quickly is that up until this year most of the filmmaking has been done by the government through the Cinematography Department.

Now there is a change as the Government is now basically encouraging filmmakers not to expect the money from the Government but to try to develop their films through the market economy and that is especially true here in HCMC more so than in Hanoi.

The filmmakers in the south that we have talked to are very entrepreneurial. It means they like the idea to raise their own money and they do it through the private studios here and the co-production with other countries, exchanges and the movies can be made that way that aims at the audience.

The films of the north (of Vietnam) are more thoughtful, beautiful to look at the imagery. The films of the south like “The Rebel” are like the other Asian cinemas with lots of things going on and are more entertaining.

However, film is both art and commerce. If you only do commerce, that is not good and if you only do art, that is not good either. You want to tie them both. What is going to happen, in my opinions, is that the filmmaking in the north would become more commercial and the filmmaking in the south would become more artistic and great films will come out of it.

In a time of cultural interrelations, do you think Vietnamese filmmakers should make the films that are more universal?

Well, it is interesting. The film language is universal but I think that filmmakers in every country look first to their country and we’ve been saying to all the Vietnamese filmmakers that we see not to try to copy American movies, Korean movies or other Asian movies.

Make Vietnamese films for the Vietnamese audiences that Vietnamese audiences like, using the techniques, the equipments that all the film cultures use to tell the stories that are uniquely Vietnamese.

That will make a great Vietnamese cinema that helps it travel all over the world because it is part of the Vietnamese culture and the worldwide culture at the same time.

How about the young Vietnamese filmmakers, are they promising?

Yes, very much so. The young Vietnamese filmmakers no longer get money from the government to do the films and they are also not used to it.

They just have the stories they want to tell and we have talked to a number of young people who borrowed money from their relatives, friends, or even sold their houses to get the movies made.

That is what happens in the United States too for the young filmmakers who want to get into the business. They do not do it for money. They do it to tell their stories and that is exciting.

The young Vietnamese filmmakers are exactly like the young filmmakers all over the world. They are from different countries so they have different stories to tell but their attitudes are exactly the same.

They have the stories they have to tell and they are excited about telling them and I feel it strongly when talking with writers, directors and producers in their 20s and 30s here. They see the liberalization of the film business of the Government is the chance to tell their stories.

One last question. Is there anything you want to advise the young Vietnamese filmmakers?

Yes, Keep pushing. The young filmmakers in Vietnam that we have heard know exactly what they want to do. They don’t have the money, the equipment yet and I said that they don’t have screen writing skills yet but they are articulate about the movies they are going to make and they are excited about making them.

That is the best thing in the world, having that kind of excitement in what you do. We should all do what we like to do in this world because we only have one life to do it.

(Source: SGT)


 

Big names from Hollywood, who visited Vietnam from May 8-9 as part of the first-ever American Film Week in Vietnam, showed their interests in the country’s potential for filmmaking due to it’s beautiful scenery and interesting themes.

Tom Pollock, Vice Chairman of the American Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences said Vietnamese film makers have taken into greater account the viewing public’s taste as well as profitability.

“It is a good sign for Vietnamese cinema,” said Tom, who was former chairman of Universal Studios.

He also said Vietnam has many modern cinemas.

Director Susannah Grant expressed her wish to study more about Vietnam and Vietnamese cinematography in order to develop cooperative projects between the two countries.

She said she want to watch Vietnamese films that are produced by Vietnamese people because making films about Vietnam requires a deeper understanding of Vietnamese culture.

The US cinematic delegation also included Phil Robinson and Curtis Hanson who are experienced film directors as well as producers William Horberg, Emmanuel Lubezki and Freida Lee. (VNA)