Young women filmmakers shine at national short film contest

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Five filmmakers have won prizes in this year’s CJ Short Film Making Project. Photo courtesy of CGV Vietnam

HCM CITY — Three young women have been named best filmmakers at this year’s CJ Short Films Filmmaking Project, an prominent national contest in the genre.

The contest named Hồ Thanh Thảo, Trần Thị Hà Trang, and Đào Thu Uyên as the winners along with Đào Quang Trung and Lê Can Trường.

Thảo’s short film, called Điềm Báo (A Bad Omen), features a widow’s fight against a stranger in her dreams who causes bad luck for her son.

Thảo invited People’s Artist Thúy Hường to play the widow.

Hường, who is a folk singer, played the main characters in many award winning films in the 1990s, like: Thương Nhớ Đồng Quê (Nostalgia for Countryland) by director Đặng Nhật Minh, released in 1995; and Ngã Ba Đồng Lộc (Đồng Lộc T-Junction) by director Lưu Trọng Ninh in 1997.

Điềm Báo was filmed in remote areas in the northern provinces of Hưng Yên and Vĩnh Phúc.

“I’m very proud of the film’s cast and setting. It’s not just waiting for editing and finishing. Doing what I want makes me extremely happy,” said Thảo, who began making films when she was 14.

She won the Búp Sen Vàng (Golden Lotus Bud) awards for short film Muộn (Late) from the Centre for Assistance & Development of Movie Talents (TPD) under the Việt Nam Film Association in 2017.

Her film was sent to compete at the Singapore International Film Festival the same year.

In 2021, she received the Cánh Diều Bạc (Silver Kite) for short film Đường Cao Tốc (Highway) from the Việt Nam Film Association.

Poster of short film ‘Điềm Báo’ (Fortune-telling) by young filmmaker Hồ Thanh Thảo. Photo courtesy of CGV Vietnam

Another filmmaker, Trang, brought to the contest her work called Cá Mặt Trăng (Moonfish). The film is about a hearing-impaired child living in a small fishing village, who tries his best to save his family and himself from impending doom.

Hà won the Cánh Diều Vàng (Golden Kite) Awards for best short film with Một Cõi Đi Về (A Place to Return to) in 2020.

The film was also sent to compete at the Singapore International Film Festival 2021.

Filmmaker Uyên’s Con Dại Cái Mang (Mother’s Love) is about a mother protecting her disabled children at the CJ Short Film Making Project.

Uyên, who graduated in directing from the Hà Nội Academy of Theatre and Cinematography, has released many short films and documentaries about Vietnamese urban life and women.

She won the FY Film Festival for young filmmakers in 2017 with short film Vùng Đệm (Buffer Zone).

Trung, one of the other winners, presented Những Con Voi Bên Vệ Đường (Elephants by the Road) about a tomb builder, while Lê Can Trường’s Hương Kỳ Trong Trăng (Dreaming a Dream) depicted a man lost in his illusions.

The five filmmakers, who received VNĐ300 million (US$13,000) each, were mentored by Việt Nam’s leading filmmakers Phan Đăng Di, Nguyễn Hoàng Điệp, Trịnh Đình Lê Minh, Trần Thanh Huy, and Trần Thị Bích Ngọc, on making their films qualify for international film festivals.

After the premieres in HCM City last week, the films will be screened at over 50 international film festivals around the world.

“All directors from the CJ Short Film Making Project worked hard to finish their films while the country was facing a tough time caused by the pandemic,” Nguyễn Thị Thu Hà, deputy director of the culture ministry’s Cinema Department, said.

“I’m so proud of them and believe that all the short films from this year’s contest will gain recognition at international film festivals as has happened in previous years.”

The CJ Short Film Making Project, initiated in 2018, aims to take Vietnamese filmmakers’ creations to top international film festivals.

This year, the contest received 298 entries of different genres, on various topics. It was held from April 15, 2021 to May 17. — VNS

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