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Vietnamese films enter global market

Many Vietnamese movies are increasingly being shown in foreign markets.

The movie Thiên Thần Hộ Mệnh is under negotiation to enter the global market. Photo

The movie Bố Già (with English title "Dad, I’m Sorry”), for example, was released on April 22 in theatres in Singapore and Malaysia, including via the popular Golden Village cinema chain.

Even though the movie’s publisher has yet to give sales statistics in Malaysia or Singapore, the public’s acceptance can be seen by the number of screenings and the duration of the movie’s stay. Bố Già is still being shown in Singapore.

According to Box Office Mojo, a website specialising in independent box office revenue tracking, Bố Già ranks 29th in the global chart of movie revenue this year, with more than US$17,129 million.

Meanwhile, the movie Lật Mặt 5: 48h (Face off: The Walking Guests) is at 47th place with more than US$6,584 million. The producer plans to enter Lật Mặt 5: 48h in the US, Canada, Australia and other markets. Earlier in 2019, Lật Mặt 4 was shown in the US, Australia and Canada.

The Thiên Thần Hộ Mệnh movie (The Guardian Angel), prior to its premiere date in Vietnam, was approached by international firms in countries such as the US, Canada, UK, France, Ireland, Malaysia and Singapore, among other nations. This is a positive sign for the “export potential” of Vietnamese movies.

A similar case can be seen with the movie Bóng Đè (Sleep Paralysis) by director Le Van Kiet. Even though the film is expected to be screened in Vietnam in mid-May, it has already been licensed for distribution in 25 countries.

Despite their potential, many producers of Vietnamese movies have not announced figures about their international revenue.

Hai Phượng movie (Furie), directed by Le Van Kiet, is a rare film with clear sales, with VND160 billion ($6.9 million) in the domestic market and VND40 billion in the international market.

Though the domestic market remains the most prominent and brings most of the revenue for Vietnamese films, the potential of the foreign market is undeniable, especially with support from the large number of overseas Vietnamese and curious international audiences interested in different cinematic backgrounds.  

Quality movies

With multiple awards at international film festivals, the film Cha Cõng Con by Luong Dinh Dung has reached audiences in 16 countries and territories such as the US, Italy, Uruguay, Spain, Canada and India, among others.

Dung said that global film distributors often visit prestigious international film festivals to negotiate, buy and sell film rights. The opportunity for his movie to premiere in foreign countries started there. 

“Previously, we only sold the rights to show Cha Cõng Con in theatres, but now its copyright comes in other forms of distribution such as television or DVDs,” Dung said.

Recently, the film was licensed to be shown at a university in Japan and was released in a DVD version in Turkey.

Dung added that he has had a lot of experience in negotiating with international distributors. Many “acquaintances" sought out Dung to make another action movie, 578: Phát Đạn của Kẻ Điên, expected to be released in Vietnamese theatres next August.

“Quality local films are not difficult to export,” he said.

Director and consultant for Film Group (Singapore) Nelson Mok said that in the past it was not easy to convince international film distributors to offer Vietnamese films in theatres because foreign audiences were unfamiliar with this genre. 

However, it was the “vision” in the movie Bóng Đè that made distributors agree. It is essential to let the foreign audiences experience Vietnamese films, and then they will want to see more, he said.

Film director Charlie Nguyen said that local filmmakers need to have attractive storytelling skills, and more importantly, be able to create relevant stories with local values in them.

“Bố Già is a prime example. We need to tell our own story, not the story that other international movies have told,” he added.

“Watching a movie is no different than going on a trip. Viewers love to see what they have yet to experience,” film director Luong Dinh Dung said.


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