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Directors take short cut to cinemas (Mar 31, 2003)

The just-completed 'Luoi Troi' (Heaven's Net) film will follow 'Gai Nhay' (Bar Girl) in being distributed by the filmmakers themselves rather than through the usual system of Fafilm Vietnam (Vietnam Film Distribution Company).

'Luoi Troi' directed by Phi Tien Son from Nguyen Manh Tuan's screenplay, was made by the No l Feature Film Studio on a budget of VND 1.6 billion.

The film opened in Ho Chi Minh City last Friday.

"We are not totally sure that we will earn a profit, and will accept a loss. We believe that even if the income is not substantial, it will be much higher than the VND150 million that Fafilm Vietnam would pay us to get the rights to the film," said Nguyen The Dung, director of the No 1 Film Studio.

The decision has been made following the success of the recently-released Gai Nhay by director Le Hoang, produced by the Giai Phong Film Studio.

After five weeks' screening in Ho Chi Minh City and Nha Trang, the film has taken more than VND 4.5 billion and is believed to have been even more profitable in Hanoi.

These earnings constitute a record for a Vietnamese film.

"There are no official regulations regarding independent releases. The self-distribution activities of Giai Phong Film Studio and No 1 Film Studio are worth encouraging," said Truong Duc Nam, director of Fafilm Cinema.

By doing this, the filmmakers have introduced their products directly to the audience, and can better understand their taste in order to produce more films meeting the public's demands, he added.

Both independently-released films feature topical issues in society. 'Luoi Troi' which attracted experienced actors like Thanh Tri, Dao Ba Son, Ha Xuyen and Kim Khanh, is inspired by some of the most serious corruption cases throughout the country during the past decade. These include the bankruptcies of the Thanh Huong perfume enterprise and Dai Thanh Company in creating a cautionary tale concerning the ongoing trial of Nam Cam in Ho Chi Minh City.

Each State-owned film studio produces around ten films a year, paid for by State sponsorship (about VND 1 billion per film).

When completed, films are usually sold to the Fafilm Vietnam at a cost of up to VND 200 million.

However, if the process is continued, both studios and distributors will rely on the State subsidy, ignoring the need to make profit, which will result in poor film supply to the public, said Mr Nam. (VNS)

Reprinted with permission from Nhan Dan Newspaper


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