A team of young Vietnamese filmmakers has attracted social media attention with a teaser from their animation project, set in ancient Vietnam hundreds of years before the Common Era (BCE), at a time when the local animated film market is dominated by foreign works.
Loa thanh ruc lua, literally known as ‘Flaming Co Loa Citadel,’ is a five-episode historical animated film and the first part in a fantasy, time-travel cartoon series named Hat thoc va nhung chuyen du hanh xuyen thoi gian (A grain of rice and its time-travel journeys).
The animation project was conceived in 2016 and initiated in late 2017 by Hacthanstudio, a team of Vietnamese artists, who all have children between the ages of ten and 12 and share a passion for making animated films that inspire young people to learn about history.
The film’s teaser was released in late April and received positive reviews from the local audience.
Le Tham, the scriptwriter, said that she has consulted historians and referred to historical documents in order to develop the narrative, which will depict some historical figures as ‘superheroes.’
“Children will be curious to find out who these superheroes really are in Vietnamese history, as well as how people lived in ancient times,” Tham, who produces animated programs for national broadcaster VTV, said.
The main characters of the series include three little friends Hai Au, En Nho and Dieu Dau To, tasked with returning to the past to find their grandfather, a missing historian, and retrieving a lost Time Map.
At the end of the first part, the three protagonists will travel back to Hanoi in the early 20th century.
The first episode of Loa thanh ruc lua, meant for viewers from eight years old and scheduled for premiere this autumn, tells the trio’s trip back to Au Lac, the name of the Vietnamese state from 257 BCE to 179 BCE, where they will have to encounter countless dangers and turn themselves into historical figures to learn about the past.
The second episode is expected to be aired by the end of 2018, with the production crew considering increasing the total number of episodes to ten should the film receive good reviews.
Hacthanstudio also includes other well-known names in the industry, namely director Huyen Vu, winner of the Best Animation Award at the 2009 Vietnam Film Festival, Nguyen Hoang Vinh Khang, a graphic designer of San Francisco-based Creative Circle, and author Le Di, an editor at local publishing company AlphaBooks.