A still from Choi Voi (Adrift) by Bui Thac Chuyen
Vietnam’s Department of Cinematography has announced a plan to make the local film industry be the leading one in Southeast Asia by 2020, but experts have called it wishful thinking.
“It is a fantasy that Vietnam’s film industry will top the Southeast Asian region within the next seven years,” scriptwriter Nguyen Thi Hong Ngat said at a conference in Hanoi on Tuesday.
The conference was organized to collect opinions from scriptwriters, producers, directors and other experts on the Department of Cinematography’s draft plan for developing Vietnam’s film industry.
Ngat said achieving a target like topping the region depended on many variable factors, including the determination of authorities, the presence of Vietnamese talent and the development of film industries in other countries.
She noted that the current situation with the Vietnamese film industry was that it has no works getting nominated for screening at international events, the local market is dominated by foreign films and local films are not exported overseas.
Director Nguyen Thanh Van agreed, saying, “The dream is baseless, given the current situation.”
He said the most important factor was human resources, and there are only a few talented people around.
Director Bui Thac Chuyen said South Korea was in the same situation as Vietnam in 1986, and it took the Korean film industry ten years to “get out of the hole” through “strong reforms.”
“I think the department has set the target of becoming a leader in the region’s film industry within seven years just to encourage us to work harder,” Chuyen said.
Other experts also pointed out that outdated filmmaking technology as one of the big challenges that Vietnam’s film industry needs to overcome.
Director Do Thanh Hai said that at a recent film and television technology exhibition he asked two producers from Singapore and Malaysia for their opinions on dubbing. He told them that it takes lots of money and technology to do audio-recording directly in Vietnam.
In response to his question, the producers said direct audio-recording has been done in their countries for a long time.
Another problem, according to Nguyen Danh Duong, director of the National Cinema Center, is that from next year the current motion picture technology will disappear and be totally replaced with digital technology.
Meanwhile, the draft plan envisages application of the new technology in Vietnam only by 2020.
Digital technology allows films to be broadcast through satellites, sold online, and even enables new approaches, said cameraman Ly Thai Dung.
“If the local film industry continues with the motion picture technology, it will be out of sync with the world,” he said.
Another conference on the same topic was held in Ho Chi Minh City on June 28.
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