"Sand' brings Hanoi girl first prize in documentary contest

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Vietdocs 2011, the first competition for environment-themed documentary films in Vietnam, ended on May 29 with 25 year-old Ngo Thi Thanh winning the first prize with her film Sand.

Her film was "convincing in its complexity," according to Goethe-Institut Vietnam, the competition organizer. It says Sand "quietly shows not only the consequences of uncontrolled exploitation of raw materials, but also the political and social implications this has."

Sand convinced the board of examiners and won Thanh US$1,000.  Thanh was also offered expenses to make a full-length documentary to compete in the SEADocs, the Southeast Asian Student Documentary Award, next month.

The competition VietDocs, a project of the Goethe-Institut Vietnam, with the theme "Climate Change- Changing My Life", offers an outlet for current and aspiring documentary filmmakers.

Launched six months ago, the competition received ten films but only eight of them could get to the final round.

Director Nguyen Trinh Thi, a member of the board of examiners, said that half of the films were made by young amateur filmmakers. However, they were very responsible in telling their points of view about the serious issue of climate change.

Dinh Thi Thuy Linh, a 20-year-old competitor, made the film 3>5, which tells the story about bicycles and the traffic in Hanoi under the eyes of a 70-year-old bike repairer.

In making a film for the first time, Linh had to do every job as director, camera operator and scriptwriter. Linh shared that she did not expect her film to win any prizes, she just hoped that it would not be so bad.

Sharing the same feeling as Linh, Phan Thanh Thanh, who won the third prize with the film Our Rice Tomorrow, had to spend three months following Hanoi women to complete her film.

According to Thanh, "the image of the women of the field talking about rice is worth watching."

For Almuth Meyer-Zollitsch, the president of the Goethe Institut, The Empty Space by group Letk impressed her the most. She likes like way they expressed questions about empty spaces in the city, in responsibilities, in perceptions, and in hidden hazards.

VTV6, the teenager channel of the national television station, will show these documentary films this month. Also they will be shown online at the www.goethe.de/vietdocs.

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