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Two Vietnamese Films Shortlisted for SeaShorts Film Festival 2020

The film festival will be held online from September 12-20.

SeaShorts 2020 was originally scheduled to be held in Ipoh, Malaysia, but has been moved online due to the pandemic, and two Vietnamese short films are among 30 shortlisted entries out of 544 submissions to compete for the SeaShorts Award. The festival's theme this year is "Reimagining Short Films, Reinventing Southeast Asia."

The first Vietnamese entry is The Graduation of Edison (Lễ trưởng thành của Ê-đi-xơn), directed by Phạm Hoàng Minh Thy. The film is set in a fictional Vietnamese village where children are born with a tree on their head. When they turn 18, they go through a tree-cutting ceremony to mark adulthood. This is Thy's debut project, though the filmmaker has been part of many short film productions in the past, including Live in Cloud-Cuckoo Land, which was selected for the Venice Film Festival 2020.

A still from The Graduation of Edison.

The second Vietnamese film to be included at Sea Shorts 2020 is Stay Awake, be Ready (Hãy tỉnh thức và sẵn sàng), directed by Phạm Thiên Ân. The 14-minute film is summarized on the festival's website as: "On a street corner a mysterious conversation among three young men at a street stalls. Meanwhile a traffic accident on a motorbike. The night brings together a sketch, a multicolor frame of reality​." Last year, the film won the Illy Short Film AwardIlly Short Film Award in the Cannes Director's Fortnight section.

While not part of the competing list, The Unseen River by director Phạm Ngọc Lân with be screened as part of SeaShorts' opening film Mekong 2030. The Mekong 2030 project is a regional anthology featuring Lân's short film as well as pieces from Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Thailand focused on visions of the Mekong River in a decade. The anthology was also featured during the Locarno Film Festival held online last month.

To view the films featured at SeaShorts, attendees must purchase a festival pass for US$10. More information on SeaShorts 2020's program and schedule is available at the festival's website, or on its Facebook page.

[Top photo: A still from Stay Awake, be Ready via the SeaShorts 2020 website]

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