Vietnam wins first prize at Asia student film festival

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Three teenagers from central Vietnam won top prize at the Asia Student Film Festival in Japan with a short film that sends a message against HIV/AIDS discrimination.

Seventh graders Phan Thi Thuy Dung and Trinh Lan Phuong, and eighth grader Vo Tuan Quang made the three-minute film with help from their literature teacher Pham Thi Phong at Tay Son Secondary School in Da Nang, news website Dan Tri said in a Monday report.

Phuong played the main character of the film, a girl named Lan, whose parents died of HIV/AIDS. Quang played the boy who stopped Lan from drowning herself in a river.

"Lan, don't cry" starts with Lan being isolated at class after news spread of her parents' death. In the last scene, Quang holds the girl's hand, says sorry, and they return to school.

Quang said if the boy in the film failed to make an apology and bring his friend back to school, "we cannot know what regretful consequence would have happened."

He said the film-making team learned about HIV/AIDs during extra-curricular activities and realized the social disadvantages facing the patients and their families.

"Many of them ended up committing crimes or suicide because they could not bear the harsh discrimination," Quang said.

It took two months for the children to write the script and film the movie.

The film won third prize at the Vietnam Student Film Festival, which qualified the students to travel to Japan for 10 days, where they beat 116 films from 10 other countries to win the award.

Their teacher Phong said the recognition was beyond their expectations. "More important than the award is the experience and the opportunity to exchange and learn from international students."

Dung, Quang and Phuong are high-performing students at the school. They all love making films, but do not have serious film commitments yet.

"Our main job now is to study. Movies are just a useful and interesting playground where we can share our thoughts," said Dung, who did the filming.

Tay Son School also won fist prize at the Asian festival last year.

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