Vietnamese director wins award for short film at Cannes

By Ha Thu   May 29, 2022 | 10:03 pm PT
Vietnamese director wins award for short film at Cannes
Mai Vu (R) poses for a photo with her Lights On Women award next to actress Kate Winslet at the 2022 Cannes Film Festival on May 28, 2022. Photo courtesy of lorealparis
Mai Vu, director of the short animated film 'Spring Roll Dream', has won the Lights On Women award at the Cannes Film Festival.

Hollywood actress Kate Winslet presented it and a prize of €30,000 (US$32,000) to Mai on Saturday.

According to Viguier-Hovasse, the representative of the sponsor, said the short animation genre reflects the future of the film industry, and the goal is to encourage women filmmakers to express themselves and overcome the funding gap, which is one of the reasons why men outnumber women in the film industry.

The nine-minute animated work is a graduation project by Mai, a student at the National Film and Television School in Britain.

The stop-motion film tells the story of a Vietnamese family in the U.S. The main character is Linh, a single mother building a stable life for her son Alan. But that balance is disrupted when her father Sang visits from Vietnam.

It was nominated in the La Cinef, a category that honors works by students from film schools across the world. There were 1,528 submissions in this category, but only 16 were nominated.

During one meal, he insists on making Vietnamese spring rolls for his grandson but Linh wants mac and cheese instead, setting off a conflict between Sang and Linh.

A scene in Mai Vus Spring Roll Dream.

A scene in Mai Vu's 'Spring Roll Dream'.

That is when "Linh is confronted with the past and culture she left behind and the question of where it belongs in her family's new life."

The character of Sang was inspired by a lonely old father who wants to connect with his children and grandchildren but only knows how to express his love by cooking for them.

Mai said: "During the process of finding an idea for my graduation film, I wanted to tell a story about a man. I got the inspiration for the film from my father and family."

She puts the work in the context of cultural differences between the west and east in which young people want to build their egos while old people have difficulty integrating.

Mai’s fellow students were key contributors to the film, which, due to Covid-19, had many parts done online.

Mai, 30, was born in Ho Chi Minh City and started doing animation works in 2011.

Between 2012 and 2015 she directed more than 70 episodes of ‘Xin Chao But Chi’ (Hello Pencil), the first stop motion animated series made in Vietnam.

In 2020, she went to the UK to study animation and graduated in March this year.

The 75th Cannes Film Festival took place from May 17 to 28.

Swedish director Ruben Ostlund's class warfare comedy 'Triangle of Sadness’ won the Palme d'Or.

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