US film producer brings Vietnamese movies to US

July 4, 2008

US film producer brings Vietnamese movies to US
00:04′ 03/07/2008 (GMT+7)

Gerald Herman

VietNamNet Bridge – Gerald Herman, a film producer and a student of famous film director Martin Scorsese, has lived in Vietnam for the past 15 years. Instead of seeking opportunities in Hollywood, he quietly brings Vietnamese movies to the US to help Americans understand more about Vietnam. He said he would live in beautiful Vietnam the rest of his life.

The road to Vietnam

In 1992 Gerald Herman, at that time working as manager of an advertising firm in Indonesia, travelled to Vietnam. He was immediately charmed by this country. The trip changed his life.

“At that time, the US hadn’t lifted its embargo on Vietnam. I imagined seeing poor Vietnamese with sad faces, who hated Americans. But Vietnamese people seemed to pay no attention to the past. They ware busy building the country and developing economics. They amazed me,” he said.

“I felt that this was a vital and developing country. I decided to leave my company in Indonesia to work in Vietnam,” he added.

Herman’s Lotus Communication company in HCM City ran very well but it had to close four years later because it couldn’t compete with international advertising groups. Herman moved to Hanoi to seek new business opportunities and he became chief representative of Discovery Communication, a Singaporean firm, in Vietnam.

As a film producer who owns a big collection of movies, he planned to set up a movie club in Vietnam. Herman spent five years looking for a suitable place to open the Hanoi Cinematheque with the assistance of the Vietnamese Ministry of Culture and Information.

This club has had difficulties operating because it doesn’t sell tickets. It makes its money from donations and membership fees. Hanoi Cinematheque currently has over 2,000 members and it receives warm support from many embassies in Vietnam like Brazil, Italy, UK, Japan, Iran, etc.

Herman is now very busy running the club. Sometimes he has talks with students at movie and stage schools in Vietnam. His small movie club attracts many foreign visitors who come to watch Vietnamese films to understand more about this country. For Vietnamese audiences, foreign movies screened at Hanoi Cinematheque bring them closer to distant places right in Vietnam.

Herman is satisfied about the increasing number of audiences coming to his cinema but he regrets that Vietnamese members account for just one-third of the total.

Annually he returns to the US twice to visit his family. His wife and children sometimes come to Vietnam to visit him. He said: “I will die in this land.”

The itinerary of Vietnamese movies to the US

Some Vietnamese movies that were distributed in the US by Gerald Herman

Herman realised that Vietnam had a movie industry since the 1960s and 1970s but Vietnamese films were never brought to the world, except for being introduced at some international film festivals. Most Vietnamese films that won international prizes were produced by overseas Vietnamese.

He brought some Vietnamese feature films to the US for distribution as DVDs, for example “Bao gio cho den thang muoi” (When the Tenth Month Comes), “Thuong nho dong que” (Nostalgia for Homeland) by Dang Nhat Minh, Viet Linh’s Street Circuit, etc.

Four years ago, he helped distribute “The Travel to Southern Forest”, a series based on a famous novel by Doan Gioi, in the US and some European countries. The Travel to Southern Forest is a favourite film of Herman. He said the movie is interesting not only for children but also adults. He believes that the movie will change the outlook of Americans on Vietnam.

“Vietnamese people are open-hearted, hospitable and Vietnam is a country with a long history, which always looks to the future,” he said.

Herman is seeking funding to bring more Vietnamese films to the US, the world’s movie kingdom. Though he is very busy with the his movie club, Herman hopes to produce a film about modern Vietnam.

(Source: TP)


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