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Movies by private studios make up the majority of films vying for this year's Golden Kite Award, an officer of the Viet Nam Cinema Association (VNCA) revealed in a recent meeting.
According to VNCA deputy president Nguyen Thi Hong Ngat, among the 12 movies competing for the title, which is considered by the domestic film industry as the annual "Vietnamese Oscar", awarded by the VNCA, 10 were produced by private studios – a record number in Golden Kite Award history since it was first held in 2003.
"The record number of films by private studios is also vivid evidence of socialisation. We do not care if the movie is made by a private or State-owned studio, but the quality of the product," said Ngat.
Among these 10 movies, Hotboy Noi Loan (Lost in Paradise) by BHD Studio has been considered by many as a strong nominee for this year's Golden Kite Award. The movie, the first Vietnamese production to feature a positive view of homosexual life, scooped up three major Golden Lotus awards at the National Film Festival last year, including Best Director, Best Supporting Actor and Best Cameraman. The movie was also screened in many international film festivals, including the 62nd Berlin International Film Festival last month.
Do Hay Day (There or Here) by Viet kieu (overseas Vietnamese) female director Siu Pham of the Hkfilm Studio is expected to bring a fresh surprise to the event. The film, about a Vietnamese woman and her foreign husband who returns to live in a river fishing village in Viet Nam after their retirement, was among the finalists for the New Currents Award at the 2011 Busan International Film Festival in South Korea.
The comedy Long Ruoi by Vietnamese-American director Charlie Nguyen of the Thien Ngan Studio earned more than VND40 billion (about US$2 million) at the box office, a record turnover in Viet Nam's cinema history.
The movies Tam Hon Me (Mother's Soul) and Mui Co Chay (The Scent of Burning Grass) by the one-member limited liability company Viet Nam Film Studio are also strong competitors among the nominees.
Although they attracted lower audience numbers than the other private studio films, both movies received high acclaim from cinema critics.
Mother's Soul earned the Judges' Award at the 17th National Film Festival last year and lead actress Phung Hoa Hoai Linh grabbed the Best Actress award at the 8th Dubai International Film Festival in December, while the war-themed The Scent of Burning Grass claimed the Silver Lotus award at last year's National Film Festival.
Along with the 12 nominated movies, the Golden Kite Award 2011 will also see competition among 19 TV series, 37 short films, 11 animations, 42 documentaries, 10 scientific documentaries and four cinema research projects.
Free screenings of all the films and documentaries in competition will be featured until March 15 at Thang 8 Cinema, 45 Hang Bai Street; National Cinema Centre, 87 Lang Ha Street; and the VNCA, 51 Tran Hung Dao Street.
On March 8 a workshop entitled A Decade of Viet Nam Cinema – Review and Evaluation will be held as a sideline activity.
The Golden Kite 2011 award ceremony, which will be held at 8pm on March 17 at the Ha Noi Culture Friendship Palace, will be broadcast live on channel VTV2.
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