Thursday, 21/04/2011 11:31

Producers call for movie export strategy

Action-packed: Bay Rong (Clash), a movie made by Chanh Phuong Studio, was sold to and shown in more than 30 countries. — File Photo

Action-packed: Bay Rong (Clash), a movie made by Chanh Phuong Studio, was sold to and shown in more than 30 countries. — File Photo

HCM CITY — Vietnamese films need a dedicated export strategy and strong support from the Government to make inroads into the global film market.

They are only now finding their way into foreign markets and exports remain an initiative of individual studios, mostly private ones.

However, the studios face many difficulties due to the high costs involved in marketing and advertising a movie in foreign countries, translation, designing and printing posters and catalogues for it.

Without co-operation among themselves, private studios are susceptible to pressure by distributors in other countries on price and others.

The HCM City Television-owned Television Film Studio (TFS) began to export serials in the late 1990s with Nguoi Dep Tay Do (Beautiful Girl of Tay Do) which it sold to Thai Television.

Thai Television then began to buy and show Vietnamese short films.

Nguyen Viet Hung, TFS' director, said: "Now, TFS sells all its serials abroad after showing on HTV. [Besides] it also sells short films, documentaries, docudramas, and other films."

TFS' series Ngon Nen Hoang Cung (A Candle in the Royal Palace) and Mekong Ky Su (Mekong Discovery) were shown on KXLA 44 while several serials were shown on VBS, both in the US, and the Thai Public Broadcasting Service (TV Thai PBC) showed some documentaries, he said.

Thailand is now a regular market that buys most of TFS' products, he said.

"TFS has an agent in the US to sell its films and programmes to the Vietnamese community.

"Vietnamese films are not bad in comparison with other Asian and Southeast Asian films.

"But we sell less because there is no real market for Vietnamese films. All commercial transactions have for long been done through individual tie-ups without any general strategy or support."

The culture authority and Vietnamese embassies in foreign countries need to pitch in to help film exports.

The Vietnamese film market became more vibrant in the early 2000's after private studios were encouraged to make movies.

Private film-makers, with their savvy and self-motivation, gradually took Vietnamese movies to foreign viewers through university and museum cultural exchanges.

The success achieved by a series of Vietnamese films at major international film festivals raised the profile of the country on the international market.

BHD is the top private media company in terms of introducing and marketing Vietnamese movies abroad.

BHD, which participates in almost all global film fairs, currently acts as the representative for many studios like Viet Nam Feature Film, Feature Film Studio 1, Giai Phong (Liberation) Film, Phuoc Sang Film, and HK Film and helps them export their products.

Nguyen Thi Bao Mai, head of BHD's copyright department, said: "Though good films have been appreciated by many foreign distributors, they are mostly bought by countries in the region or with a large overseas Vietnamese community.

"But films that win international awards attract viewers and distributors on a larger scale, including in Europe and the US."

BHD sold films that won awards at international film festivals – like Ao Lua Ha Dong (White Dress), Chuyen Cua Pao (Pao's Story), Choi Voi (Adrift), Canh Dong Bat Tan (Floating Lives), and Bi, Dung So (Bi, Don't Be Afraid) – to the US, and several markets in Europe and Asia.

"These films have created a positive impression on foreign viewers," Mai said, revealing that more and more distributors ask for information about the latest Vietnamese movie projects.

"They even place orders when the film is still at the pre-production stage."

Others have started looking for foreign distributors themselves.

Actor Johnny Tri Nguyen said two movies made by his Chanh Phuong Studio, Dong Mau Anh Hung (The Rebel) and Bay Rong (Clash), were sold to and shown in more than 30 countries.

De Mai Tinh (Fool for Love) is currently being shown in Vietnamese communities in the US. — VNS

Comments (0)

Related content