Dr. Ngo Phuong Lan: “I am very happy with this job”

Dr. Ngo Phuong Lan, General Director of Vietnam Cinema Department as well as the co-founded of Hanoi International Film Festival (HANIFF), is the one has successfully built the film festival, contributing to promote the image of the country, people and culture of Vietnam to friends in all over the world. She debates on the special features of the Hanoi International Film Festival this year.

The 5th Hanoi International Film Festival has many outstanding works of famous cinematic in the world including films winning prestigious prize such as Oscar, Palme d'Or - Cannes International Film Festival, Golden Bear - Berlin International Film Festival. Could you please tell us about the efforts of the organizers to bring these "big movies" to HANIFF this year?
It can be said that from the first Hanoi International Film Festival, we strive to bring the brand of the International Film Festival in Hanoi to be gradually known and confirmed. During the previous HANIFF, finding a few big movies getting prestigious prizes, etc., is never easy. Beside the right to pay for Film’s copyright with quite huge money, the organizer need to be well-known to easily bring those films for their HANIFF. Fortunately, at this time, the HANIFF has gained a certain prestige and status, so we can contact with many agents, others International Film Festival or even we can directly contact with the film’s maker in order to get the latest films as well as films from the most famous cinematic in the world. For example, a Japanese film that won the Palme d'Or at the 71th Cannes  (5/2018), the Chilean film won the Oscars - Best Foreign Language Film (2/2018), Hungary’s film which won the Golden Bear Award in Berlin in 2017 and many other films. In addition, this year, the organizer chose two focal points including Polish and Iranian films. Although they do not occupy the major markets in the world, they have had many international successes.
This Hanoi International Film Festival has a special meaning with the milestone marking the 5th anniversary of its. Therefore, what activities does the organizer have to do to not only success but also more and more show your prestige?
Every year in the world there are hundred even thousands of International Film Festival, therefore, the first thing to do is to make it reach the international standards and also never stop innovating each time. It can be seen very clearly the development of the scale of the Hanoi International Film Festival this year and the content is also constantly innovation. In the first period day of Hanoi International Film Festival, films are always selected in the Asia-Pacific region, but to the 4th of the festival it is selected from all over the world. In order to facilitate the development of new talents in Asian, this 5th Hanoi International Film Festival requires films that have never been screened at Asian International Film Festivals. The first Hanoi International Film Festival showed only films in festival (including panorama films and contest film). Up to the 2nd time, the organizer opened the young talent compose camp. From the 3rd time, we opened another activity which is the film project market. These two new activities are linked together to create a very professional seminar career exchanges.
In addition, each festival has a symposium theme. The seminar at the Hanoi International Film Festival will focus on the theme of Vietnam Cinematic, introducing the Vietnamese cinematic in the renovation period and highlighting the special features of our country. Thus, through that seminar, friends and colleagues will have a chance to understand about the stage of innovation of Vietnamese cinematic lasted throughout a quarter century. During the seminar about Philippine Independent Film at the 3rd Hanoi International Film Festival, many people realized that the film makers of Independent film have to spend their own money on production. At the International Film Festival in 2016, there were two seminars which was shared experiences of two major cinematic in the world. The first is from Europe (Italy), the hometown of the film Italian Neorealism which was admire by many Vietnamese filmmakers. The last one introduced the biggest cinematic in Asian, India, which produces thousands of films a year and become the movie center of the world with the famous Bollywood title.
Another new feature is that from the 4th Hanoi International Film Festival onwards there is an outdoor movie show combining fashion show. This activity opens the opportunity to exchange between the audience with the film crews and also introduce the beauty of Vietnamese traditional costume.
It can be recorded by many people that Hanoi International Film Festival always has activities and programs to renew the festival, however, I think that the most important factor for Hanoi International Film Festival to get the status as today is the quality of the films has become more "crystal".

Once again, please raise the meaning of the Hanoi International Film Festival in promoting the beauty and culture of Vietnam?
In fact, the festival does not have to be organized in places where there is a vibrant film market but must target the typical city of the country. For example, Cannes International Film Festival, held in Cannes - coastal small town, is now aged over 70 years. Venice International Film Festival chooses Venice, the city on the canals, as the venue, etc., without the Cannes Film Festival in May every year, people will not go to Cannes that much and Venice is also not a popular tourist destination in Europe without the Venice Film Festival. Therefore, thanks to the brand of the film festival, the names of these cities are pushed up. The Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism chooses Hanoi, a land of thousands of years of culture, so that the Hanoi International Film Festival has a special meaning when it not only presents our country features but also has the infrastructure with large, wide places to organize the film festival.
Looking back at the last 5 years of the Hanoi International Film Festival, it is not difficult to recognize your personal identity as director of the film festival, with the journey of making film festival not only overcome the difficult period of the whole cinema industry but also makes the festival stand up and develop in both size and quality, attracting international attention, then what is your feeling?
The biggest highlight of Hanoi International Film Festival is the participation and support of many agencies, organizations and individuals including the departments of Hanoi, film studios as Sen Vang, Bright Era, BHD, Red Bridge, Thien Ngan, National Cinema Center, donors and media. Hanoi International Film Festival has convinced a large number of participants based on what it has achieved through years to years. To be honest, organizing a Film Festival is a very hard work, especially when you work with famous people that they are too busy and their schedule might be changed anytime then this is a neurological challenge. However, we are always excited to see hundreds of films and it not only helps us to improve our knowledge but also gives us passionate feeling and the more importantly is that to see colleagues are also excited, especially audiences. The audience do not easily see dozens of excellent films of the world during the five days of the festival because in theaters, basically only commercial films, sometimes there are some artistic value films but often few guests, so that it will “out of date” soon. The more we witnessed the audience of our friends and co-workers, the more we felt happy. Since then, we have been trying our best to bring the best films to our festival.
I was very happy when I was selected as director of the Hanoi International Film Festival, I think it was the right decision because I had attended many of the festival as a guest, as a jury member or career exchange seminars. Thanks to that, I certainly have some imagination, and also understand what the International Film Festival is like or what is included in the film festival can be considered as international standard. Our HANIFF is not a top-level film festival, but it must be an international standard film festival, so that both candidates and audiences will be very excited to participate in the Film Festival.
Thank you very much!

Van Thao


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