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Vietnamese film wins top prize at Cannes Directors’ Fortnight

Pham Thien An (left) with his Illy Short Film Award from Quinzaine des Réalisateurs (Directors' Fortnight), an independent section held in parallel to the Cannes Film Festival. Photo courtesy of CGV
Hay Thuc Tinh va San Sang (Stay Awake, Be Ready) directed by Pham Thien An won the Illy Short Film Award at Quinzaine des Réalisateurs (Directors' Fortnight), an independent section held in parallel to the Cannes Film Festival, on May 23.

“The prize is my motivation to carry out a project for my first feature film, and is an opening Hay Thuc Tinh va San Sang,” An said.

He presented his project to industry professionals at Focus CoPro, an event hosted by the Cannes Short Film Corner on May 21 which included six first-feature projects from other countries.

Hay Thuc Tinh va San Sang was screened at Directors’ Fortnight on May 23 and 24, receiving a warm welcome from international filmmakers and audiences.

The 14-minute film is about a motorcycle accident in front of a street food stall which unveils a secret story involving three young men. It also is a reflection of social issues.

The film won top prize at the 2018 CJ Short Film Making Project, one of the top short film contests in Vietnam.

Film producer and actress Hong Anh, An’s mentor at the contest, said: “I’m proud of An’s achievement at the Cannes Film Festival”, noting his characteristic skills that are needed to be a good director.

An was born in 1989 in the Central Highlands province of Lam Dong, and graduated in Information Technology from Ho Chi Minh City-based Lotus University.

Later, he became interested in film and won a number of film awards in Vietnam, including the 48 Hours Film Project in HCM City in 2014.

In 2015, he moved to the US and continued working as a freelance filmmaker.

His short film, Cam Lang (The Mute), was screened as a World Premiere at the Palm Springs International Shortfest in the US in 2018. It also competed in 15 international short film festivals, including Winterthur in Switzerland, Tampere in Finland, Encounters in the UK, and Aspen in the US.