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Director Mai Vũ Wins 'Lights on Women' Award at Cannes Film Festival

Spring Roll Dream is a touching rumination on inter-generational dynamics of a Vietnamese family living in the US.

Not long ago, the prestigious cinema event Festival de Cannes published a complete list of short films to be screened during the program’s duration. It was announced that a short by Vietnamese director and animator Mai Vũ was selected to be shown as part of La Cinéf, a category featuring works by students from film schools across the globe.

According to Vietnam News, Mai Vũ’s stop-motion short Spring Roll Dream has won the Lights On Women prize at the Cannes Film Festival 2022. The honor was announced on May 28, which includes a cash prize of EUR30,000 presented by British actress Kate Winslet.

The Lights On Women Award was launched for the first time in 2021 by French cosmetics brand L’Oréal Paris, seeking to lionize one rising female filmmaker in partnership with the festival’s short film program. Kate Winslet, the brand ambassador, served as the award’s first juror last year.

As Vietnam News reports, Mai Vũ has shown interest in film since she was 19 when she started making short films for her friends. She went on to work on the production of Xin Chào Bút Chì, Vietnam’s first stop-motion animated series.

Mai Vũ recently graduated from the United Kingdom’s National Film & Television School. Spring Roll Dream was picked to represent the British institution at Cannes. According to Mai, the nine-minute short took two years to finish with pre-production and the script spanning six months. Filming and voice acting took another eight months to complete.

The short explores the family dynamic of a three-generation household. Linh is a Vietnamese single mother who’s built a stable life for herself and her son in the US, but her life balance is thrown off when her father visits from Vietnam and insists on making gỏi cuốn for her son.

Linh’s father is voiced by actor Bùi Bài Bình, best known for his role in the 2000 arthouse movie Mùa Ổi. His involvement was hand-picked by Mai Vũ as she was impressed with his work in Mùa Ổi. “His voice is really emotional, so despite the language barrier, my professors and friends understood a little bit about the character while watching the film," she told the news source.

[Photo via Thời Đại]