Question: Starting from an independent filmmaker, you are now working as a producer and have participated in many commercial film projects with foreign partners. What has brought you to these working opportunities?

Director Nguyen Huu Tuan: In 2019, I received funding from the Busan Film Commission (Korea) to participate in residency programme at Busan Asian Film School. Within framework of the event, I produced a psychological thriller film entitled ‘Cuoc San Tan Nhan’ (The Cruel Hunt). The film’s script then reached the quarter final round in the BlueCat Screenplay Competition.

I was also lucky enough to cooperate with mm2 Entertainment studio, which helped me gain financial support from a Singaporean fund for Southeast Asian filmmakers for the production of ‘Cuoc San Tan Nhan’.

The pandemic has requested all businesses to find ways to renovate for survival and the film industry is no exception. For me, it is also an opportunity to conquer new directions that I have not thought of before.

Can you share us more about your passion and attachment to filmmaking?

After more than 10 years of working in cinematography, there are things I have accomplished and also things that I regret; however, I have gained a clearer perception about my job. In the past, to some extent, filmmaking was just a way for me to earn a living. But now, I believe that filmmaking has so much more meaning than that.

Although cinematography is a small industry, it has involved a lot of technical manpower who have earned modest payment. They have worked very hard for many years, and when the pandemic happened they immediately lost their income and faced many difficulties.

In July this year, director Nguyen Quang Dung launched a fund to support filmmakers who have been affected by the pandemic.

As a film producer and a director, I think that it is necessary to make high-quality and profitable movies. It is the only way to foster the sustainable development of the film industry and improve the livelihoods of those working in the field. At least the filmmakers will feel the pride to contribute to cinematic works.

Furthermore, I hope that the cinema industry along with content creativity in general will further contribute to developing Vietnamese culture. Vietnamese films should be a part of Vietnamese culture, which can help to impress international friends by popularising the culture, country and people to the world.

I will do my job with my national pride and make films which can advertise the Vietnamese people’s creativity to international friends.

Vietnamese films can help to impress international friends by popularising the culture, country and people to the world. Photo: A scene in the Vietnamese drama film “Mat Biec” (Dreamy Eyes)

Meetings have been held to collect opinions on the draft amended Law on Cinema, and many opinions have focused on film appraisal. What is your point of view about film appraisal?

I believe that it is necessary for the State to adopt regulations for movie content as it has been done in many countries in the world. However, the regulations must be clear and specific. Creativity in cinema is unlimited, thus the provisions about it cannot be cursory and vague, which is the major shortcoming in the current Law on Cinema 2006. The issue has been raised many times by those involved in making films .

Vague and unspecific regulations will force members of film appraisal councils to interpret that these regulations according to their personal understanding, which can lead to unfairness in film appraisal.

In order to avoid this situation, it is nothing better than building a system on specific age ratings for movies. This system will create a basis for film appraisal councils to better their work, avoid assessment by feeling. It will also help filmmakers determine what to do to cause their films to be classified in an age rating that suits their business strategy.

The building of such system requires a lot of effort from State agencies. The system is good for both the State and film business. This is also what filmmakers have wished for.

As a film maker, what is your biggest expectation for the amended Law on Cinema?

I hope that amended Law on Cinema will be a historic legal document. In the context when the pandemic has severely affected the film industry, including film production and screenings, the future of Vietnamese cinema is quite pessimistic.

We understand that cinema is not yet considered an essential industry, and resources for post-pandemic recovery need to be focused on more important fields. Thus, we do not dare to ask for financial support but we want to be listened and understood. I hope that the State will create favourable conditions for filmmakers with open and reasonable legal frameworks.

Thank you so much for your sharing!