Viewers who have enjoyed I See Yellow Flowers On Green Grass should remained in their seats and be delighted by the film’s end credits animated sequence.
The 2-minute animation tells the light-hearted fairy tale on the friendship of a peasant and a magical frog. In a remote village, a young man dreams of being a scholar. He befriends a strange toad who uses a glowing gem as a reading light for the man’s study. On the way to the capital city for an exam, they encounter a wounded person lying on the road. The frog senses a schemer faking injury with no good intention. The naïve young man and the frog argue whether they should help. During the argument, the conniver steals the glowing gem and flees the scene. Using the magical stone, he tries to cure a sick princess, but failed causing her health to decline. The frog and his friend settle their differences to exploit the thief’s dishonesty and save the princess. The young man marries her and lives happily ever after.
The 2-minute animation is developed at LaConcept, a production house headed by Dinh Ngoc Diep, Victor Vu’s wife. Diep is in charge with the script which contains four parts: The Village, The Forest, Old Town, and Royal Palace. Together, the story teaches trust, teamwork, and sincerity in Vietnamese culture. A team of four work tirelessly at LaConcept under Diep’s supervision. From a technical standpoint, each segment presents its own challenges for the two main young artists: Thu Le and Phan Thanh Dat. Using watercolors, Le creates all the background elements while Dat is responsible for designing and painting each character. The two young artists are extremely proud of their contribution to the film along with guidance from Dinh Ngoc Diep.
Once all the drawings are completed, LaConcept hands them over to Cyclo Animation Studio to add motion. Nguyen Anh Viet cuts each drawing into separate objects using Photoshop. Then he animated each object in After Effects along with motion tracking, environment effects, and finally composite the animated assets to Thu Le’s backgrounds. Overall, the production design is imbued with ornate details remarkable to Vietnamese ancient culture and tradition. The overall team effort took 4 months.
Vietnamese animation is still a very small struggling industry dwarfed by foreign spectacles mostly from Disney and China. Independent domestic animation houses survive through outsourced commercial projects from overseas. The use of animation at the end of Yellow Flowers to tell a Vietnamese fairy tales is a welcoming pleasant surprise. As the Vietnamese film industry is churning out more materials tailored for young viewers, it should place greater focus on incorporating animations. This type of transmedia storytelling has great potential to be well received by quirky and well-informed Vietnamese youth who grew up already familiar with cartoons. Hopefully this way, Vietnamese animation can develop into an art form for enriching Vietnamese customs.