In her role as producer and actress, Van, known as Veronica Ngo, was instrumental to the success of the last year's martial arts film Hai Phuong (Furie), the highest-grossing Vietnamese movie of all time.
Film producer and actress Ngo Thanh Van achieved great success last year with the martial arts film Hai Phượng (Furie), the highest-grossing Vietnamese film of all time, earning more than VNĐ200 billion (US$8.6 million) in ticket sales in domestic and foreign markets.
The movie, which was about motherhood, earned VND200 billion (US$8.6 million) in ticket sales in domestic and foreign markets.
Van, who is the owner of Studio 68, one of the country’s leading private film studios, first developed the idea for the film's kidnapping theme four years ago and then wrote about seven scripts. She later worked with the film’s director Le Van Kiet to complete the script in two years.
“Kiet's strengths are in cinematic structure and formats that use American film styles,” said Van, who played the leading role, a female ex-gangster named Hai Phuong
In the film, the character Hai Phuong lives a quiet life with her daughter in the countryside until the little girl is abducted. Phuong then decides that she will stop at nothing to rescue her child.
Distributed by Well Go USA Entertainment, the film was shown in 600 cinemas in US cities such as Dallas, Houston, Philadelphia, San Jose, Portland, Seattle and New York.
At the 92nd Academy Awards in the US, it was the Vietnamese entry in the Best International Feature Film category.
Besides Hai Phuong (Furie), Van was also the producer for another hit movie, Song Lang (The Tap Box), about cai luong (reformed opera).
Directed by Leon Le, the film features a group of cai luong artists in Sai Gon who face challenges in the 1980s to preserve the special art form. It starred young actors Lien Binh Phat and Issac.
Song Lang won five Golden Lotus awards for Van at the 21st Vietnam National Film Festival in Ba Ria – Vung Tau Province in December, including best feature film and best director.
The film also won top prizes at numerous local and international film festivals, including the Golden Kite Awards presented by the Vietnam Film Association, ASEAN International Film Festival and Awards, and Sharm El-Sheikh Asian Film Festival.
“Movies are my true love,” Van said.
The 42-year-old began her acting career with one of the leading roles in Rouge, a 13-part TV series broadcast on MTV Asia and directed by renowned Singaporean director Jonathan Foo.
She later took part in several movies in Vietnam and abroad, including Dong Mau Anh Hung (The Rebel) in 2006, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: Sword Dynasty in 2016, and Star Wars: The Last Jedi in 2017.
In 2015, Van began working in film production with the fantasy movie Ngày Nảy Ngày Nay (The Lost Dragon).
She has produced a number of movies, including Tam Cam: Chuyen Chua Ke (Tam Cam: The Untold Story, Co Ba Sai Gon (The Tailor), Ve Que An Tet (Going Home for Tet), and the latest Trạng Ti (Child Master).
Nguyen Hong An, a student at HCM City University of Culture, is a big fan of Van’s films.
“Her films feature Vietnamese history, culture and beautiful landscapes," An said.
Veteran singer returns as actress
Known in Vietnam as the Queen of Pop, My Tammade her debut in 2019 as a producer, director, screenwriter and actress in her film Chi Tro Ly Cua Anh (My Dear Assistant!). Photo courtesy of the producer
Although pop star My Tam has been a well-known singer for over 20 years, the country last year saw a completely new Tâm, who worked as a film producer, director, screenwriter and leading actress in the film Chi Tro Ly Cua Anh (My Dear Assistant!).
Tâm played the leading role of Khả Doanh, a beautiful and talented businesswoman who tries to save her family business by becoming an assistant for a playboy who wants her to find him a girlfriend.
The film earned VND100 billion ($4.3 million) in ticket sales, but only cost VND17 billion ($735,000) to make.
Tam told local media last year that she had received "many invitations from different film producers for many years”.
“But I needed time to rest and to find inspiration. I wanted to return when I had enough energy, enthusiasm and time,” she said.
“The topic about a woman falling in love with a younger man was attractive.”
Tam and her staff faced huge challenges during the year of filmmaking. “I lost a director before filming. I invested money in the project, so I had to be the writer, director and actress," she said.
Vo Minh Tram of Bình Thạnh District, a big fan of Tam, said he was very impressed with Tâm’s performance. "Her acting is mature and natural. It’s a payoff for her nonstop efforts.”
Chi Tro Ly Cua Anh received huge support from more than 2.6 million followers on Tâm’s Facebook page.
Around 5,000 copies of the film soundtrack sold in one day.
“I know my film had some mistakes, but I want to express my gratitude to my fans who are always by my side,” said Tam, a native of Da nang Province who began her career in 1997.
Her latest album, Tam 9, which includes 13 songs in a pop soul style, was released in late 2017. More than 5,000 copies were sold within one day after its release. More than 20,000 copies were sold in January last year.
The album ranked 10th on Billboard’s World Albums chart in the third week in January last year, based on sales data compiled by Nielsen Music, according to Billboard.com.
She is the first Vietnamese singer to be included on the Billboard list.
Tam has won top prizes at international music award competitions, including the Best Asian Artist at the Mnet Asian Music Awards in 2012 presented by the Korean-based Mnet Television, and the Best Southeast Asia Act at MTV Europe Music Awards in 2013.
Tam, who has released nine albums, owns the studio MT Entertainment and fashion label Nightingale.