Sunday, 07/01/2024 09:10

The creative world of Trịnh Lâm Tùng

Film director-painter Trịnh Lâm Tùng. — Photo courtesy of Tùng

Film director-painter Trịnh Lâm Tùng has been involved in the animation industry for over 20 years. He and his colleagues recently launched the film series Trạng Quỳnh in His Childhood -- a 3D animation of up to 450 episodes -- to preserve the traditional beauty of Vietnamese culture. Thanh Nga interviewed him to learn more.

Inner Sanctum: Please introduce yourself and your association with the animation industry.

I was born and raised in Uông Bí City, Quảng Ninh Province, with a childhood dream of becoming a cartoonist. In 2002, after graduating from the National College of Arts Education and studying South Korean and Japanese comics for over a year, I joined the animation studio at Việt Nam Television. There, I had the opportunity to meet and work with my first animation teacher, director Phạm Minh Trí. We collaborated on Việt Nam's first computer animation series.

In 2005, I continued my studies at the University of Fine Arts and worked for the Việt Nam Animation Studio. Over the years, I went through various roles and stages in the film production process.

In 2010, I directed my first film. Throughout this journey, I also had a degree in Film and Television Directing at the University of Theatre and Performing Arts of Hà Nội, which provided me with a solid foundation and a balanced approach to studying and working effectively.

I established my own studio in 2017, which eventually evolved into Alpha Animation Studio. Despite the numerous difficulties, hardships, and failures I encountered during my journey in animation, my love for the art never wavered.

Trịnh Lâm Tùng (left) has been involved in the animation industry for over 20 years.  Photo courtesy of Tùng

Inner Sanctum: Your film series "Trạng Quỳnh in His Childhood" has just been released. Could you elaborate on the main idea and plot of this film?

The project is an entirely new creation that draws inspiration from the rich Vietnamese folklore. It combines elements of universality and contemporary sensibilities to create an engaging and culturally authentic story.

The series revolves around simple, everyday narratives and humorous situations presented through gentle yet captivating storytelling. The film incorporates folk songs, proverbs, and traditional games set against the backdrop of ancient Vietnamese architecture.

'Trạng Quỳnh thời nhí nhố' (Trạng Quỳnh in His Childhood) - a 3D animation series with  expected 450 episodes. — Photo courtesy of Tùng

Inner Sanctum: With such a large-scale project, what challenges did you encounter making it?

Folk culture is a challenging topic for filmmakers because it requires in-depth research and access to limited documentation. The script for this film was meticulously crafted to meet several criteria, including the preservation of folk culture, humour, modernity, and universality, while capturing the essence of the stories.

The sheer volume of work necessitates a significant number of personnel. However, finding qualified individuals who meet the project's professional standards has proven difficult.

Additionally, most of the team are young and lack practical experience, so training and sharing expertise becomes a time-consuming task. Furthermore, 3D animation technology is expensive, and the equipment required for the production carries potential risks.

Inner Sanctum: What is the main goal of the project? What do you hope to achieve through this film?

The primary goal is to offer a pure Vietnamese cultural experience among the sea of low-quality animated products. Through Trạng Quỳnh in His Childhood, I aim to introduce the rich folk culture of Việt Nam, with vivid imagery and humanistic values, to international audiences.

This endeavour contributes to the Vietnamese animation industry. Currently, the project has entered phase two, focusing on producing high-quality series tailored for discerning markets and prestigious platforms.

Furthermore, we are expanding the project's ecosystem by developing derivative product lines to enhance recognition, coverage, and establish a stronger foundation.

The animation series 'Trạng Quỳnh in His Childhood' is a completely new creation that draws inspiration from the rich folk culture of Việt Nam.

Inner Sanctum: What changes and new trends do you see in animation?

The animation industry is growing at a rapid pace, and it is essential to stay attuned to the evolving trends. I believe that the industry should align with the overall development of society. As a result, I constantly update myself and choose appropriate solutions for each stage of my studio's development.

This project has been developed over many years and requires careful planning and foresight to ensure maximum efficiency. I strive to incorporate the latest trends and techniques that align with the goals of the project and resonate with the target audience. By staying abreast of industry advancements, I can create engaging and visually impressive animations that captivate viewers and meet their evolving expectations.

Trịnh Lâm Tùng develops a community for animation enthusiasts as well as produces films to participate in domestic and international film festivals. — Photo courtesy of Tùng

Inner Sanctum: Who is the target audience for your project, and what do you hope the film will bring to them?

Initially, Trạng Quỳnh in His Childhood was positioned to target the 6-8-year-old viewer segment of the market. This age group consists of children who have developed reading skills and have a natural inclination to explore and learn. After the project achieved success, we expanded our audience to include 3-4 years old as well as older children between 8 and 12.

Our aim is for Trạng Quỳnh in His Childhood to serve as moral nourishment for multiple generations within a family. The series is intended to be a repository for preserving and cherishing the essence of "Vietnamese childhood".

Adults can reminisce about their own childhoods, filled with forgotten folk games and simple pleasures. Children, on the other hand, can enjoy refreshing and carefree laughter after hours of stressful studying.

Inner Sanctum: What advice would you give to young people aspiring to a career in animation?

Animation is a vibrant and enchanting world, but creating within it requires continuous effort in studying and practising.

Animation possesses a unique power and purpose that sets it apart from other film genres. We should utilise that power to create beautiful and meaningful works that enrich life and society.

It is a profession that demands meticulousness. From the early stages of your studies, cultivate the discipline to prioritise your health, reasoning abilities, and awareness, enabling you to persevere in pursuing your dreams.

Trịnh Lâm Tùng introduces his animation series 'Trạng Quỳnh in His Childhood'. — Photo courtesy of Tùng

Inner Sanctum: Finally, what message would you like to convey to your audience?

Vietnamese animation, as well as Vietnamese cinema in general, greatly relies on the support and love of the audience. This support serves as a tremendous motivation and encouragement for filmmakers like us to utilise our talents, strengths, and intelligence in creating better and bigger works that express gratitude to the Vietnamese audience and strive to captivate global audiences. VNS

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