Sunday, 14/05/2023 17:30

Vietnamese documentary wins at Asian film festival in Đà Nẵng

Deputy Prime Minister Trần Hồng Hà (right) hands the Best Film award to young director Hà Lệ Diễm at the Đà Nãng Asian Film Festival. Photo courtesy of Trần Lê Lâm 

ĐÀ NẴNG — Vietnamese director Hà Lệ Diễm's film Những Đứa Trẻ Trong Sương (Children of the Mist) has won Best Asian Film at the first Đà Nẵng Asian Film Festival.

The documentary covered the tradition of ‘bride-kidnapping' among the Mông ethnic minority in the northwest mountainous region of Việt Nam.

Deputy Prime Minister Trần Hồng Hà and People’s artist Như Quỳnh handed over the award to the director at the award ceremony at Đà Nẵng's Trưng Vương Theatre on Saturday.  

Vietnamese director Hà Lệ Diễm reacts after her documentary 'Những Đứa Trẻ Trong Sương' (Children of the Mist) won Best Asian Film at the first Đà Nẵng Asian Film Festival. VNS Photo Công Thành

The judging panel selected it as the best among 12 films of the Asian competition award, and eight films of the Vietnamese film competition at the week-long festival.

“It’s the longest documentary that I have done so far. I worked on the film in 2017-2021 with many difficulties seeking funding and assistance for the competition,” Diễm said.

“I thank the funding organisations, friends and the film crew for supporting me during production. I also express my sincerely thanks to the film's main subject Má Thị Di and the Mông community in helping me experience and explore their lifestyle,” she said.

A trailer for 'World War III' shown at the Đà Nẵng Asian Film Festival. The film was given the Special Jury Award for the Asian film competition, and Iranian Mohsen Tanabandeh won the Best Actor. VNS Photo Công Thành 

The 32-year-old director said she was fascinated by documentary film production as she could explore various cultural topics, especially regarding children and women.

“I’ll keep going on with more films on children and women as I think children have a very rich energy and dynamic.”


Diễm’s film, named on the shortlist of the 15 contenders for the best documentary film category at the 95th Academy Awards (Oscars), depicts the story of a 12-year-old Mông girl living in a village of the northwest mountainous region – where women get married very young and follow the tradition of ‘bride-kidnapping'.

Má Thị Di, a main character of the film, begins her adolescence with physical and psychological changes, but her parents do not care about her immaturity. Di disappeared on a Lunar New Year’s Eve.

Diễm, who began studying film in 2013, debuted her first short film – Con Đi Trường Học  about an HIV-positive single mother from the Dao ethnic group, and won the Silver Kite Award at the Việt Nam Cinema Association Awards (Kite Awards) in 2014. 

The special jury award of the Asian film competition went to World War III – an Iranian thriller co-written, directed, produced and edited by Houman Seyyedi. 

Iranian Mohsen Tanabandeh, who starred in World War III, won the best actor award in the Asian Film division, while Juliet Bảo Ngọc Doling cast in Glorious Ashes took the best actress award.

Director Kavich Neang, who is based in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, was named Best Director for While Building in the Asian film category, while the Best Screenplay was given to Joyland of Pakistan.

A scene of 'White Building' at the Đà Nẵng Asian FIlm Festival. Director Kavich Neang, Cambodia, was named Best Director for the film. VNS Photo Công Thành 

In the Vietnamese film competition category, the screenplay award was handed to Nhã Uyên and her husband Aaron Toronto, for Đêm Tối Rực Rỡ (The Brilliant Darkness).

The Brilliant Darkness also dominated the award ceremony with Nhã Uyên winning the Best Actress prize with Huỳnh Kiến An taking the Best Actor.

“It’s an honour for me and the film crew. I dedicate the prize to my wife – a Đà Nẵng-born woman – and colleagues for making the film,” An said.

Toronto praised actress Nhã Uyên for her brave casting and performance in the film.

He said the success of the film would contribute to the development of Việt Nam’s film industry in the future.

The Brilliant Darkness also won the Special Jury Award in the Vietnamese film category.

Trấn Thành, who directed Nhà Bà Nữ (The House of No Men), won the Best Actor in the Vietnamese film competition, and the award was received by his wife Hari Won.

Won, the film's producer, said her husband was busy working on a television programme.

She said the couple spent the most difficult time in making the film as well as great efforts of the film crew members, actors and actress.

The House of No Men also won as the Best Vietnamese film award.

The best Vietnamese film in the Audience’s Choice Award went to Siêu Lừa Gặp Siêu Lầy (Hustler Vs Scammer) by director Võ Thanh Hoà.

A scene of actress Nhã Uyên in 'Tối Rực Rỡ' (The Brilliant Darkness). The film dominated the Asian Film Festival with prizes for screenplay, Best Actor, and Best Actress in the Vietnamese film category. VNS Photo Công Thành 

The NETPAC (Network for the Promotion of Asian Cinema) Award for Vietnamese film was given to Đất (Memento Mori: Earth).

South Korean film actress-director-screenwriter Moon Sori, who is head of the jury at the festival, said all members had many discussions on selecting the best awards.

The film festival, which was co-organised by the People's Committee of Đà Nẵng, the Việt Nam Association of Film Promotion and Development (VFDA), and Đà Nẵng’s Department of Culture and Sports, creates a chance for the city to become a hub for international film producers and stars in the future. VNS

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