The unexpected victory of Vietnamese college students at a Hollywood film festival has inspired a sequel and hopes for more recognition.
|Director Nguyen Do Khoa (L), aka eNKee Nguyen, and a Vietnamese crew member set up a shot on the set of The 4th.|
Nguyen Do Khoa, director of The 4th, which grabbed first prize in the horror category at the International Student Film Festival Hollywood in early November, said he was writing a new script for an 80-90 minute sequel to the 20-minute film.
The new film will be also about the number four, which symbolizes death in East Asian cultures. But Khoa said the mysteries of the first film will be unlocked in the second.
“It can be seen as the second part of The 4th, but through this part, we want to send a message that the number is actually not scary but the fear in one’s mind is.”
The 4th crew, including Le Nhu Anh, Nguyen Uy Vu, Nguyen Hoang Duy and Khoa, all students from the Interactive Media Design Department at Ho Chi Minh City-based Raffles International College Vietnam, made some changes to the film late last month and sent it to the Rome International Film Festival and several smaller events.
Khoa said he was surprised when the film, which is about a girl’s obsession with the number four and mysterious happenings on the fourth story of a school, received big applause at the festival.
“Before attending the festival, we decided it would be just a place to learn.”
The 4th and 62 other films were chosen from the 250 submissions to be screened before the awards were announced.
Khoa said the group was amazed at how loudly people applauded when it was announced that a Vietnamese film was at the festival. But he said the quality of other films screened at the event made the Vietnamese team nervous.
“We watched impressive horror films from other countries and realized that The 4th was an already-eaten cob of corn,” Khoa said, using a typical Vietnamese saying “cui bap” that describes something useless.
Khoa said the group didn’t have high hopes for The 4th because westerners associated the number 13 with death, not 4. He also said their film looked meek compared to normal horror films that have bloody, startling scenes.
After the film won, Khoa and US filmmaker David Jibladze, director of another winner, were the only two participants chosen to talk with the audience.
Made with around VND3.5 million (US$190), the film was the first Vietnamese picture nominated at the festival.