Vietnam’s move industry wanting talent

Published: 02/03/2009 05:00



The country’s movie industry has to make a choice: look at itself honestly to seek a way for development or be drowned by a wave of foreign films. The Vietnam Cinema Agency’s vice chief Le Ngoc Minh and director Bui Thac Chuyen talk about this.

Audience members lining up to buy tickets for New-Year-holiday films.

Vietnam produced merely six feature movies in 2008. What do you think about this fact?

Le Ngoc Minh: Six big-screen films is too modest but more films will be produced in 2009. However, even if 15-20 movies are made this year, the number is too small for a market of over 80 million people, including 15 million in cities. Vietnam’s movie industry has been in this situation for 10-15 years. The reasons have been analysed by many experts already.

At present, nearly 100% of staff of the movie industry is involved in television film projects. A quite experienced director can earn several hundred million dong a year if he produces two television films. That director can earn VND50 million ($2,900) from a feature film and every 2-3 years he can have one feature film project.

In that situation, all artists are discouraged. The human resources for the movie industry will be worn out gradually and there will come a time when nobody makes feature films.

Our movie industry slips because artists and movie producers are swept away by momentary, popular values. Popularity is always good and right but a culture develops thanks to the dreams of a brave minority.

Bui Thac Chuyen: It is similar everywhere, from the US to China. It is very hard for a director to make a movie. He has to search for good scripts and funding, has to make tens of negotiations. It takes him several years to begin a movie. Only reputed directors are invited and invested in by big film firms. Vietnamese directors are often impatient.

They can’t accept failure. Everyone from producers to directors is under pressure. If their project fails, they are unable to seek funds for subsequent projects. They have to pamper the audience, which creates “New Year holiday movies”. There is no country where its movie industry lives on New Year holiday movies like Vietnam. There is no country like Vietnam where movies are divided up into marketable and artistic products.

Developed countries have underdeveloped movie industries because of Hollywood products. Vietnam is not in that situation. We don’t have many films because we don’t produce films. We invest only VND4-7 billion ($235,000-412,000) in a movie to serve 100 cinemas in the month before and after New Year holiday. We don’t have a movie market and we are losing our contingent of movie makers.

Film producers always complain about lacking fund but it is said that if Vietnamese directors had $10-20 million for a film project, they couldn’t make a movie of average Hollywood quality. Is that true?

Bui Thac Chuyen: Absolutely. If I have $20 million at present, I can’t make a product of similar quality as a Hollywood film. I’m not sure that I can earn $40 million from my $20 million movie project. I’m also sure that no Vietnamese director dares to earn $40 million. Our problem is not lack of cash, but lack of personnel who can run a professional film-making crew.

Producing a big movie is similar to manufacturing a Boeing. If the producer doesn’t reach an excellent level, he can’t manufacture even a screw, let alone an entire aircraft. What we need is a mechanism for film producing or a strategy for our movie industry.

Le Ngoc Minh: It’s true that even with a lot of capital, we can’t produce a movie of Hollywood quality. We lack a team of professional film makers and we lack great talents. I absolutely agree with director Bui Thac Chuyen about the need for a mechanism and strategy for Vietnam’s movie industry. But not a mechanism and strategy worked out by the Vietnam Movie Association or the Vietnam Cinema Agency, but a national strategy.

We should not see the movie industry as a channel of propaganda, which is funded by the state. We have to see it as an important industry and a channel to advertise the country’s image. We also agree that we don’t need to invest a lot of money in a specific movie, but invest in the infrastructure of the movie industry.

What should we do to improve the country’s movie industry?

Bui Thac Chuyen: We can start from considering what we have now: human resources, equipment, the number of movies, etc. to know where we are in comparison with other countries in the region. And then we need to find a way to develop. We can also start from loosening censorship over young and amateur film makers.

I’m in charge of the Young Movie Assistance Centre of the Vietnam Movie Association. We are carrying out a film-making project with the participation of 1,000 high school students. They have made around 1,000 3-5 minute films. I see each 50-member class has 1-2 excellent students.

To develop these talents, their products need to be broadcast on TV and on the Internet. However, to be broadcast, these short films must be censored. It is too complicated if 3-5 minute movies are censored. I think the future of Vietnam’s movie industry belongs to the youth. Perhaps we should open the door for them.

Le Ngoc Minh: South Korea was at the same point of departure like Vietnam in 1988. Thanks to their national strategy to develop the movie industry, South Korea harvested sweet fruit in 1995. Korean movies have rolled back foreign films at local box offices.

We can’t do like South Korea but we can train young talents abroad on the state budget and set the rule that a residential area of 100,000 people must have at least one cinema.


Provide by Vietnam Travel

Vietnam’s move industry wanting talent - Interviews - In depth |  vietnam travel company

You can see more

enews & updates

Sign up to receive breaking news as well as receive other site updates!

Ads by Adonline