Recent years have seen an increasing number of Vietnamese films entering the world film market, with the establishment of private film studios.
Earlier state-owned film studios exported Vietnamese films in the late 1990s but they were only TV serials and movies.
Poster of a Vietnamese film (File)
In the late 1990s, the Television Film Studio (TFS) of the Ho Chi Minh City Television, a state-owned television station, began to export some TV films, with Nguoi dep Tay Do (Beautiful girl of Tay Do) being the first TV serial sold to Thai Television.
TFS director Nguyen Viet Hung said at present, TFS sold all its films abroad, after broadcasting on HTV channel. These were not just TV serials and short films but also documentary, narrative and reportage films.
Mr. Hung said that an agent in the United States of America represents TFS for the last three years, to sell copyrights of its films and programs to produce DVDs for the Vietnamese community in the US.
Some TFS serials were aired on KXLA 44 and the VBS channel in the US while some documentary films were shown on the Thai Public Broadcasting Service (TV Thai PBS) channel.
Director Hung said Vietnamese films are not bad, compared to other Asian and Southeast Asian films, but not many films sold abroad because there is no real trade market for Vietnamese films. All film transactions are conducted through individual tie-ups.
Movies attracting foreign viewers
Ever since private companies were encouraged to produce movies, the Vietnamese film market has become more vibrant.
Using keen and dynamic business ideas, private filmmakers are gradually making an inroad in the world market.
Vietnamese films are becoming known and attracting more international viewers. Since a series of Vietnamese films won awards at major international film festivals, foreign distributors and buyers are increasing.
BHD is the first private Vietnamese media company that has marketed and introduced Vietnamese films to the world.
BHD is a film trader and has been present at almost all global film fairs. The company currently acts as a representative for many local film studios for exporting Vietnamese films.
Nguyen Thi Bao Mai, head of BHD copyright department, said many foreign distributors have appreciated commercial movies with high quality and interesting content.
However, she said the market for commercial movies is usually countries within the region and overseas Vietnamese community. Meanwhile, art movies that won international awards have attracted distributors as well as viewers from the US and Europe.
Vietnamese movies have been introduced widely abroad on many occasions like cultural exchanges at universities and museums.
After films like Chuyen cua Pao (Pao’s story), Canh dong bat tan (Floating lives), Ao lua Ha Dong (The white silk dress), Huyen thoai bat tu (The legend is alive), Choi voi (Adrift) and Bi oi dung so (Bi, don’t be afraid) made an impact in the US and some European and Asian countries, more international distributors have placed orders to buy Vietnamese films even before the films are complete.
Besides BHD, some individuals have also tried to look for foreign distributors to buy their movies.
Actor Johnny Tri Nguyen said two movies, Dong mau anh hung (The rebel) and Bay rong (Clash), made by his studio Chanh Phuong have been sold and shown in over 30 countries and the movie De mai tinh (Fool for love) is currently showing to the Vietnamese community in the US.