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The movie producer who casts drug addicts

The movie producer who casts drug addicts

Wednesday, July 17, 2013, 08:52 GMT+7

Over the past four years, local film director Viet Dang has screened free, good films for rehabilitating drug addicts and disadvantaged kids in many provinces, hoping to bring about changes to these viewers’ lives.

With his Zero+Cinema project, Viet Dang aims mostly at needy kids in remote areas and rehabilitating drug users and inmates and  tries to make a difference by sharing with them and helping them write scripts for a film based on their real lives.

Life-changing films

Dang recalled pondering what his purpose of making and screening films is, if not inspiring viewers and reminding them of humanitarian values.

“So why not screening films to as many people as possible? In remote areas, there aren’t large screens and few bother to screen films to drug abusers at rehabilitation centers. Films will certainly relieve these people’s inferiority complex and forlornness,” he shared.

Zero+Cinema came into being in 2009, and Dang and his group encountered numerous hurdles including funding and the film supply. When Son An Film Co., where he has worked as an idea director, agreed to fund Dang’s project, he held his first free film screening session. The idea clicked and Dang’s project kept rolling on. 

The seasoned director himself picked the highly educative, humanitarian films such as Iran’s “Children of Heaven”, China’s “Beijing Bicycle” and Finland’s “Le Havre” as well as notable Vietnamese films including “Mua len trau” (The buffalo boy) and “Toi loi cuoi cung” (The last sin).

“I don’t choose films because they’re blockbusters or famous, but because they’re rich in humanitarian values and can deeply move viewers and help them in some way,” Dang shared.

The 44-year-old director also encouraged rehabilitating drug users at several centers in different provinces to recount their turbulent life stories and share their dreams in scripts for his film.

“We had lots of difficulty in befriending the recovering drug users, as they were reserved and distant with their inferiority complex. They didn’t become open, articulate and consider us their friends until they could relate to the films we were screening,” Dang recalled.

He picked 25 of the drug addicts’ stories and combined them into the script for his coming film “Nu hon cua ke dao tau” (The kiss of the escapee), which he’s set to begin shooting later this month.

He has been recruiting actors for the film among the addicts, who are really eager to play roles in the film.

“They have no experience in acting, but I think they can relate much better to the roles, which depict their own lives,” the director explained.

Dang’s Zero+Cinema project also screens free good films to primary school children in Ho Chi Minh City as well as in remote areas including Dak Nong, Kien Giang and Vinh Phuc.

After watching the films, which are highly educational, entertaining and intended for their age, kids are asked to write reviews on the films. Dang, who hopes to help bridge the gap between city and rural kids, also suggests that city kids help their disadvantaged peers in poor, remote areas by donating confectionery, used clothes and study kits.

Dang’s project also regularly screens films for free at 91A Dinh Tien Hoang, Binh Thanh district every Wednesday. Viewers can book on zeroplus.vn, and each session caters to around 50-60 viewers and usually ends with exchanges with famed directors and scriptwriters.  

Tuoi Tre

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