In the past few years, Vietnamese short films have exploded with vibrant, new energy. Formally daring, highly stylised, and relentlessly inventive with streaks of surrealism, these films have garnered much success and recognition in the global festival circuit. This survey celebrates a fresh movement in which a new generation of trailblazing Vietnamese directors with singular voices emerge collectively from an audaciously innovative time and place.
Programmer: Phan Dang Di
A leading director and trailblazer in the Vietnamese film industry, Phan Dang Di’s films have been screened at numerous international film festivals around the world. Winner of both the ACID and SACD Awards at Cannes for his debut features Bi, Don’t Be Afraid, he has also competed for the Golden Bear at the Berlin International Film Festival via his second feature Big Father, Small Father and Other Stories. Beside his career as a filmmaker, Di also taught Film History, Directing, and Screen-Writing at Hanoi National University and Fullbright Vietnam University. He is also president of Autumn Meeting, an annual international cinema event in Da Nang, Vietnam.
The Story of Ones (Chuyen Moi Nha)
Dir. Pham Ngoc Lan | Vietnam | 2011 | 9′
The Story of Ones gives a face and a sense of place to the unseen and offers a personal counterpoint to the officially sanctioned. Like entering a roomful of stories, the viewer steps into an unfamiliar space guided only by the sound of the Vietnamese state radio tuning in to lifestyle programming, call-in shows and radio dramas. Portraits of daily life are layered atop the aural landscape creating questions and humorous situations and offering the viewer whole new perspectives on what once seemed normal.
About The Director
Pham Ngoc Lan is a Vietnamese film director with a background in urban planning and architecture. Lan’s debut short film The Story of Ones (2012) has been screened in numerous film festivals and art museums. His first two short fiction films, Another City and Blessed Land both premiered at the Berlinale Shorts Competition. His newest short film The Unseen River, which is part of the anthology project MEKONG 2030, premiered at the Pardi di Domani in Locarno Film Festival and Shorts Program in Sundance Film Festival. Currently, Lan is developing his first feature film Cu Li Never Cries.
Stay Awake Be Ready (Hay Tinh Thuc Va San Sang)
Dir. Pham Thien An | Vietnam | 2019 | 14′
On a street corner a mysterious conversation among three young men at a street stalls. Meanwhile a traffic accident on a motorbike. The night brings together a sketch, a multicolor frame of reality.
About The Director
Pham Thien An is a Film Director, Producer and Screenwriter, born in November 1989 (Lam Dong Province, Vietnam). After 4 years of undergraduate studies in Information Technology at Lotus University, Ho Chi Minh City, he realized his interest in cinematography and filmmaking. In recent years, he has won several film awards in Vietnam. In 2015, he moved to Houston, Texas (USA) and continued working as a freelance filmmaker. His short film The Mute (2018) has travelled across several film festivals (Winterthur International Short Film Festival, Palm Springs International ShortFest, Uppsala International Short Film Festival, Encounters Film Festival). His latest short Stay Awake, Be Ready, official selection at Quinzaine des Réalisateurs 2019, was produced with the support of CJ Short Film Making Project. He is currently working on his first feature film Inside The Yellow Cocoon Shell.
Live in Cloud Cuckoo Land (May Nhu’ng Khong Mu’a)
Dir. Vu Minh Nghia, Pham Hoang Minh Thy | Vietnam | 2020 | 20′
A modern tale of Kafka in Vietnam – a country in the middle of a transformation. The film feels like a piece of cultural news with daily events: a wedding, traffic congestion, a robbery, a mystical metamorphosis and a love story.
About The Directors
Vu Minh Nghia graduated as valedictorian from the University of Theater and Cinema, in Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam. He continues to study for a Master’s degree in Film Criticism. He received a full scholarship funded by the state to study in VGIK – The Russian State University of Cinematography in Moskva, Russia. Nghia’s former short film named Hey U was selected under the Asian Vision Short Film in Singapore International Film Festival 2019. He is developing his first feature film named Bubble Era.
Pham Hoang Minh Thy now works as an independent filmmaker. She was a trainee from FLY 2018 (ASEAN Rok Film Leaders Incubator), HANIFF Talent Campus and Autumn Meeting (Cinema event in Vietnam). Her debut short film The Graduation of Edison was selected under the Southeast Asian Short Film Competition in Singapore International Film Festival 2019. Live In Cloud-Cuckoo Land – her latest short co-directed with Vu Minh Nghia is selected in Venice Film Festival 2020.
Blessed Land (Mot Khu Dat Tot)
Dir. Pham Ngoc Lan | Vietnam | 2019 | 19′
In the dune landscape of a cemetery, or is it golf course? Past and present converge in the search for a grave.
About The Director
Phạm Ngọc Lan is a Vietnamese film director with a background in urban planning and architecture. Lan’s debut short film The Story of Ones (2012) has been screened in numerous film festivals and art museums. His first two short fiction films, Another City and Blessed Land both premiered at the Berlinale Shorts Competition. His newest short film The Unseen River, which is part of the anthology project MEKONG 2030, premiered at the Pardi di Domani in Locarno Film Festival and Shorts Program in Sundance Film Festival. Currently, Lan is developing his first feature film Cu Li Never Cries.
The Ant Man (Nguoi Kien)
Dir. Viet Vu | Vietnam | 2017 | 26′
The daily life of a homosexual man whose body is inhabited by ants.
About The Director
Viet Vu (Quang Trung Phạm) has so far completed a series of short films on memories of various marginalised communities in different socio-political zones across Asia and Europe, including Vietnam, Portugal, Hungary and Belgium. They are typically shot in long takes with first-person perspective camera. His debut short The Ant-Man was awarded The Jury Prize at SeaShorts 2018. His works have been shown at Locarno, Rotterdam, Tampere, Singapore among other film festivals. Viet has been studying at Doc Nomads 8 and participated in Berlinale Talents 2021 as a director.