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Producers fined for entering 'Vi' at Berlin film festival without certification

By Mai Nhat   May 17, 2021 | 11:06 pm PT
Producers fined for entering 'Vi' at Berlin film festival without certification
A still from the movie "Vi" (Taste). Photo courtesy of Berlinale.
The producers of the award-winning film 'Vi' (Taste) have been fined for entering it in the Berlin International Film Festival in March before it was certified.

Inspectors from the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism ordered Le Bien Pictures to pay VND35 million ($1,500). The production house has not yet commented on the incident.

Vi Kien Thanh, director of the Cinema Department, said the company has already paid the fine.

"Because the film was funded by a number of foreign investors, and the producers have not planned to release it in the country, they did not apply for a screening license in Vietnam. But this is still a violation."

Under the Cinematography Law, films must be certified by the Vietnam Cinema Department or approved for broadcast by television broadcasters before being sent to festivals.

Directed by Le Bao, an independent first-time filmmaker, "Vi" won the Special Jury Award in the Berlin festival’s Encounters section.

The Encounters section, while competitive, supports new voices in cinema and gives room for diverse narrative and documentary forms.

The film depicts a slum in Ho Chi Minh City where a Nigerian footballer moves in with four middle-aged Vietnamese women after his team is liquidated.

This is not the first film to be targeted for not complying with censorship regulations.

In 2019, the producers of 'Rom' had to pull the movie out of the Busan International Film Festival since it had not been certified and pay a fine of VND40 million ($1,700).

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