New TV series to focus on open door era

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Actress Nhật Kim Anh and actor Trung Dũng play leading roles in period drama Lưới Trời (Heaven’s Net), directed by Nguyễn Phương Điền. The acclaimed director has embarked on a new 60-part series. Photo courtesy of the producer

HCM CITY — A 60-part series on southern society during the open-door era in the 1980s is set to start filming this April.

Directed by much-acclaimed Nguyễn Phương Điền, the series Thời Mở Cửa (The Open Door Era) is in the final pre-production stage.

It is set in the Cửu Long (Mekong) Delta during the decade that is known as the subsidy period (1975- 1986) and Đổi Mới (renewal, from 1986).

The series has been a long time in the making. Its scriptwriter, Phạm Thu Hà, told local media: “It took me 10 years to complete the script. I did a lot of research, travelled to several localities and interviewed many people to create the characters and the script.”

Since the series is set in the 1980s, the team has faced many difficulties finding appropriate settings, Hà added.

Điền and his staff are working hard on pre-production to prepare for filming in early April.

They have travelled to Cần Thơ City and the provinces of Tây Ninh, Vĩnh Long and An Giang to find settings and collect props.

Thời Mở Cửa reflects part of the country’s history, so we have to be careful with our preparation,” said the 52-year-old director.

“I hope the film will receive a warm welcome from audiences,” he added.

Director Điền graduated in acting from the HCM City University of Theatre and Cinematography and has taken part in numerous TV series like Đất Phương Nam (Southern Land) and Người Đẹp Tây Đô (The Beauty of the South).

He fell in love with directing and made his first TV miniseries Cải Ơi (Dear Cải), in 2006, which won him the Silver Kite award for the best TV series at the Golden Kite Awards in 2007.

In 2009, he won gold at the National Television Festival for the Âm Tính (The Negative) series about a young girl in a rural area who pursues fame and fortune at all costs.

He also earned top awards at both the National Television Festival and the Golden Kite Awards in 2014 for his TV drama Cha Rơi (Single Dads).

Điền’s reputation as a director specialising in period drama was established with the 54-part TV series Tiếng Sét Trong Mưa (Thunder in the Rain), the highest-rated TV series on the Vĩnh Long Province Television and Radio Station (THVL).

The series, based on the play Lôi Vũ (Thunderstorm), follows love and tragedy in a rich family in the South in the 1940s and 1950s.

The film won a silver prize for the best TV series at the 39th National Television Festival, while Cao Minh Đạt was chosen as best actor.

Last year, Điền released the 34-episode Lưới Trời (Heaven’s Net), based on the book of the same name by the late wrtier Hồ Biểu Chánh. This was also set in 1940-1950 in the Cửu Long (Mekong) Delta region. It focused on poor women as it looked at local life. It became one of the ten most-watched TV series in the southern region.

“The audiences’ love motivates me to develop period drama into a significant genre of TV series,” Điền said. “With the exciting plot set in the Cửu Long Delta in the past, I believe period drama will still find the audience favour.”

Thời Mở Cửa, produced by THVL, is expected to be broadcast on the THVL1 channel this summer. VNS

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