Came across this rather entertaining and flashy Vietnamese animated commercial.
I thought this was produced by Vietnamese. To my dismay, an Ad agency called JWT commissioned a New Zealand animation studio to produce video advertising dairy products to Vietnamese kids. Most animations shown on Vietnamese TV are produced by foreign studios or by studios in Vietnam under foreigner's supervision. Vietnamese kids rarely get a glimpse of animation from their own country made by their own people. The lack of exposure to local audience is only the tip of the problem that prevents Vietnamese animation from growing. The other big issue is quality, in which a noted Vietnamese animation director bluntly says, “…the best Vietnamese 3D animation can hardly compare with the work of US university students.” That’s a pretty freaking depressing thing to say about an industry! But it’s kind of true though. This is very disappointing considering there is a decent history of Vietnamese animation reaches back to the early 60s. Let's dig deep and take a look.
I first heard about T. Kim Trang Tran at the Flaherty Film Seminar many years ago and have been fascinated with her work. She’s been making experimental films since the early 90s and is one of the only three accomplished Vietnamese experimental filmmakers that I’m aware of in the US. The others are Trinh Minh Ha and Nguyen Tan Hoang. Tran started working on The Blindness Series since she was in graduate school. In an interview, she says that her purpose for making these films is to address the fear of blindness and its opposite, which is vision. This motive stems from her inspiration by the philosopher Jacques Derrida and his theory of binary opposition. There are eight films in the series-- Alethaia, Operculum, Kore, Ocularis, Ekleipsis, Alexia, Amaurosis, and Epilogue: The Palpable Invisibility of Life. Each one tackles the theme of vision loss through various social, psychological, historical, sexual, and political issues. What struck me most was how different they are. However, the marriage of style and theme in each film is not arbitrary. For each film's structure fits perfectly with its subject. I didn't see them in order since they each stands on their own. I'm really inspired and compelled to write about the films but I don't just want to write about them in a conventional sense. Add to the fact that I'm not that good at writing and has a bullheaded background in experimental filmmaking. All in all, cinema is a visual and aural art form. You just have to see and hear the films to be moved by them. So I want to play with different ways of writing hoping to do justice to Tran's effective pairing of structure and content. The way that I write each film is different. I played with textual imagery, inverse text, mirror text, hidden text, missing text, and multi-language text to make each method of writing relevant to the theme of each film. I'd like the reader to break out of his/her comfort zone when reading the article and hopefully will try to see the films someday. They are difficult to get but are available from various distributors in the US. Many thanks to Tran and Third World News Reel, I got to see the films and here is what I have seen with my male Vietnamese slanted eyes. ...continue reading →
Operated in Los Angeles and Ho Chi Minh, The Propeller Group is created by Tuan Andrew Nguyen, Phu Nam, and Matt Lucero. They use various art mediums such as film, video, painting, sculpture to create large scale projects. Check out their website, blog, news, and artist information here: ...continue reading →
Check out these very cool digital artworks by Thanh Tung Le A.K.A. Crazy Monkey. He has a background in animation. Currently he lives in Saigon as a visual artist and works as a Vjay. Most of his works are installation using 3D projection technique. ...continue reading →
Mr. Luong is one of the pioneer Avant Garde artists in Vietnam. He's one of the founders of the prominent Nha San Studio and has played an instrumental role in getting support for Vietnamese artists in the motherland which is a task of gargantuan difficulty. He's also helped established the Gang of Five-a collective group of artists in Vietnam. See video of performance. ...continue reading →
She's known for her expansive Blindness Series, which I've made it my 2014 new year's resolution to see even though it's really hard to get and costly. Likely, it's for art collector, sort of like the Cremaster Cycle. I saw the previews for each of the films and they're really intriguing. Hope I can get a hand on it for a lower price or free somewhere. ...continue reading →
HANOI DOCLAB is a facility that supports experimental filmmaking in Vietnam. This venue regularly showcases contemporary moving image from local artists. They also hold seminars that teach filmmaking to newcomers.