Rising Asian film talent heading to Vietnam’s Autumn Meeting in Ho Chi Minh City

admin 2024/04/06 10:27


Tran Thi Bich Ngoc



The inaugural Ho Chi Minh City International Film Festival (HIFF) is to host long-established filmmaking workshop Autumn Meeting and a new script lab headed by filmmakers Charles Nguyen and Phan Gia Nhat Linh.

A total of 25 projects will be presented across the two programmes, comprising 15 Asian projects as part of Autumn Meeting and 10 Vietnamese film and TV projects in the script lab. The projects are vying for cash prizes, including a CNC award from France.

Scroll down for full list of projects

Since its launch by producer Tran Thi Bich Ngoc and director Phan Dang Di in 2013, Autumn Meeting has grown from featuring just 13 Vietnamese filmmakers to more than 100 talents from across Southeast Asia.

With acclaimed Vietnamese-French director Tran Anh Hung (The Taste Of Things) as a regular mentor, it has evolved into a regional event held every November in the coastal city of Danang where various workshops are conducted, from directing and cinematography to acting, production design and producing. Throughout the year, Autumn Meeting will also organise workshops in Ho Chi Minh City on editing and sound design.

“Autumn Meeting serves as a platform for many promising filmmakers to get together,” says co-founder Ngoc, whose credits as a producer include The Third Wife and Glorious Ashes. “They share their vision and inspire each other to make films, while eating and drinking together.”

Collaborating with HIFF for the first time, Ngoc is pleased that Autumn Meeting can now bring in more filmmakers and more experienced mentors from overseas. Among the selection are projects from outside Southeast Asia such as Oh My Oppa by Korean director Park Gyu-tae, whose 2022 comedy 6/45 was a major hit in Vietnam, with takings of more than $7m; and I’ll Smile In Septemberby Indian director Aakash Chhabra.

Its alumni include Vietnamese director Pham Ngoc Lan, whose feature debut Cu Li Never Cries is a five-country co-production that recently premiered at the Berlinale. He will return for this year’s Autumn Meeting to deliver a talk with his veteran actress Minh Chau, while other guest speakers include Cobwebproducer Jay Choi, Films Boutique executive Gabor Greiner and Indonesian director Makbul Mubarak (Autobiography).

Mentors include Jack Nguyen, Olivier Pere and Fran Borgia. There will be two workshops for the project teams, focussing on project development and producing.

“This scale of the project market is just a dream to us if Autumn Meeting operates on its own,” says Ngoc. “Collaborating with HIFF, it’s wonderful to see Vietnam be part of world cinema on a much larger scale. It’s important to make our community accessible to everyone, while more co-productions between Vietnam and other countries can happen.”

Script lab

HIFF, which runs from April 6-13, will also launch a script lab headed by directors Charles Nguyen and Phan Gia Nhat Linh. The latter makes his acting debut in Park Chan-wook’s upcoming HBO series The Sympathizer while the latest film he produced, B4S: Before Sex, will world premiere at HIFF.

Nguyen will be a mentor along with producer Vu Quynh Ha and screenwriter Nguyen Thai Ha. The script lab aims to provide a nurturing ground for young Vietnamese screenwriters to enhance their craft and bring their works closer to the audience.

“Vietnamese audiences care about Vietnamese family stories and generation gap conflicts,” says Linh. “They want to see local stories: Vietnamese culture, Vietnamese history and Vietnamese people; things to which they can relate and are relevant to their daily life. The problem of Vietnamese scripts is not about the lack of stories, but more about the craftsmanship of writing.”

Vietnamese cinema has recently witnessed a surge in successful local productions, including record-breaking hits The House Of No Man and Mai. Some local films are also skilfully adapted from Vietnamese literary works such as Yellow Flowers On The Green Grass and Dreamy Eyes. A recent surprise hit was Peach, Pho And Piano, a historical war epic about the 1946 Battle of Hanoi.

But while several remakes have found box office success such as Linh’s Sweet 20in 2015 (the first Vietnamese remake of a Korean film), he highlights that there have been more than 200 original Vietnamese films since then, compared to around 15 remakes. “The remake process can save time in script development, but through time, we still focus on creating Vietnamese original stories,” Linh adds.

Autumn Meeting 2024

Arthouse projects

Ria (Phil)
Dir. Arvin Kadiboy Belarmino
Pros. Kristine De Leon, Alemberg Ang

Agarmoon (Viet)
Dir. Le Can Truong
Pro. Tran Thuy Dac Khue

Other People’s Dreams (Sing)
Dir. Daniel Hui
Pros. Sophia Sim, Tan Si En

Homework (Malay)
Dir. Jacky Yeap
Pro. Edward Lim

Imah-The Last Time I Saw Your Face (Indo)
Dir/Pro. Eddie Cahyono
Co-pros. Isabelle Glachant, Rio Pasaribu, Hizkia Nararya, Li Xiaorong

Bubble Era (Viet)
Dir. Vu Minh Nghia
Pro. Nguyen Trung Nghia

I’ll Smile In September (India)
Dir. Aakash Chhabra
Pros. Snigdha Sharma, Sanjay Gulati

Entertainment projects

The Heirlooms (Indo)
Dir. Devina Sofiyanti
Pro. Beta Giovanni Rahmadeva

The Heirloom (Viet)
Dir. Le Hoang
Pro. Thanh Tran
Co-pro. Nguyen Thi Xuan Trang

Parasomnia (Indo)
Dir. Rafki Hidayat
Pro. Kevin Rahardjo

Oh My Oppa (S Kor)
Dir. Park Gyu-tae
Pro. Kim Hyo-jeong

IG Rock (Malay)
Dir. Khairi Anwar
Pro. Anwar Hadi, Lina Tan

Green Valley And The Amber Marbles (Viet)
Dir/Pro. Vu Nguyen Nam Khue
Co-pros. Pham Minh Hang, Thanh Tran

Fake Truth (Viet)
Dir. Nguyen Viet Anh
Pro. Ngo Mai Phuong

The Great Lives Of My Father (Viet)
Dir. Vuong Huu Danh
Pros. Vo Thi Phuong Linh, Thao Nguyen, Nguyen Phan Nguyet Minh

Script Lab 2024 projects

TV series

Son Of The King
Screenwriter: Phat Nguyen
The story is inspired by the abdication of King Tự Đức of the Nguyễn Dynasty, who couldn’t produce an offspring and passed the throne to his nephew.

Crazy Idols
Screenwriter: Stefanie Vo
A young psychiatrist manages a counselling room serving clients who are celebrities struggling with sobriety and mental disorders.

Mom’s Cooking
Screenwriter: Quan Phuong Thanh
Four women fleeing the city, coincidentally meet in a small town. Here, they start a business together with a restaurant that has no menu.

Screenwriter: Tra Nguyen
In the world of this series, customers can rent people to listen to them talk – things they may not want or be able to share with their closest friends. The hired individuals don’t engage in conversation; they just listen. They are the “Listeners”.

The Secret Of Paradise Island
Screenwriter: Nguyen Hoang Hai
A girl starts a new life with her husband on a dreamy island, only to discover on their first day there that her husband has died

Feature films

Screenwriter: Quan Lam Vu
A badminton player joins a camp to earn sponsorship but becomes trapped in a devious scheme by his ex-coach – also the one who sexually abused him.

Under The Eagle’s Wing
Screenwriter: Hoang Yen
A prince who despises his betrothed must clear the name of his minister from the charge of rebellion against the previous dynasty before he is executed by the emperor.

The Queen
Screenwriter: Phat Nguyen
Desiring revenge at all costs, Tấm returns to the palace, usurps the position of the Queen, and eliminates all enemies, only to realize that her soul has gradually deteriorated throughout the journey.

Dear Buffalo
Screenwriter: Ha Lan Do
A young girl tries to save her beloved buffalo from being sold for meat. However, the buffalo is also the only hope for her father to repay his debt.

The Story Called Faith
Screenwriter: Phuong Anh Dang
A daughter investigates the death of her devout father despite the police concluding that he committed suicide. Through her investigation, she discovers that her father was murdered by a ghost.