Asia South East-Short Film Festival Is Hitting Saigon
The Asia South East – Short Film Festival is a seasonal film festival that gives international audiences a chance to see a wide variety of great short films that are being produced from around the world. This festival screens all genres from drama to action to horror to documentary to comedy to animation, and they prize originality above all.
The festival that happens in Saigon on June 1-2 is being curated by Rod Fraser, who is also the festival director of two other international film festivals that happen in the UK – “The London-X4 Seasonal Short Film Festival” and “London-Worldwide Comedy Short Film Festival”.
Rod has answered a few questions about the upcoming event.
– Can you tell us why you decided to hold a film festival in Saigon?
RF: I have lived in Vietnam on two separate occasions and it’s a country with a young, motivated and aspiring population so I thought Saigon would be a perfect place to host our festival. The Hive in Saigon is a fantastic creative hub in a very pleasant part of the city and Lisa Smith, the location manager, has been incredibly enthusiastic and helpful. We’ve previously held the festival in Cambodia. We’re trying to work our way through all of South East Asia. Ho Chi Minh City has a lot of creative expats and locals who I thought would be up for checking out some less mainstream films. The festivals I run in the UK are great but we tend to show many films originating from the western hemisphere. This festival will also have plenty of films from the western hemisphere but I also wanted to be able to screen more films from the eastern and southern hemispheres.
– How did you get involved in curating film festivals?
RF: I actually come from a background in stand up comedy and comedy show promotion, but I’ve also been making short comedy films, sketches and animation for years and I decided to be proactive and start a small comedy film festival so I could surreptitiously screen my own films to see which ones worked and which ones didn’t. The comedy film festival we hold in London is really popular and we’ve had some future stars show their wares at our festival for the first time and we get great feedback from the audiences but I also love lots of other types of film and wanted to be able to screen a wider variety of genres so I decided to start another festival in London that runs the full gamut from documentary to horror films. That one is also going really well too so I thought I would expand to south east Asia as I know the region quite well. We will be back in Phnom Penh at the end of 2018.
Another thing that interested me was that since the dawn of Youtube, Facebook and cheap video camera technology there has been a real surge in independent filmmaking from every part of the world. It’s a very accessible art form now and I also love the fact that when you watch a short film you’re looking through the eyes of the filmmaker into a world that you might never actually get to see in real life. We’ve screened documentaries about exorcisms in Ethiopia and really dark, perverse films from Singapore of all places. Haunting films about child labour and amazingly vibrant animated films.
– So what kind of films do you have lined up for the Asia South East short film fest in Saigon this June?
RF: Well, we have some great short films that I’m really excited about. We’ve got drama shorts, action shorts, comedy shorts, documentary shorts, animation shorts, horror shorts, experimental shorts, sci-fi shorts and musical shorts. There are comedies from India and Korea and Japan, horror films from America and China, music videos from Vietnam and South Africa, documentaries from Myanmar and Canada, poetic dramas from France, India and Taiwan, amazing animation from Hungary and China and a comedy horror film made by a nine year old boy from Australia that had me laughing throughout. One of the most enjoyable things I’ve ever seen.
As I am sitting there also watching the films with the audience, the most important thing to me is that they are engaged and involved by the films. An audience that feels bored is something I try to avoid at all cost. But I don’t underestimate an audience’s intelligence either. People who enjoy independent films usually don’t have to be spoon fed the usual Hollywood film tropes. Awards are given to films in their various categories and also for cinematic skills such as direction, scripting, acting etc. and we’ll have a panel of judges using their discretion to hand these out.
– Ok, can you give us the logistics of the film festival?
RF: The Asia South East-Short Film Festival SUMMER 2018 will be held at The Hive, 94 Xuân Thủy, Thảo Điền, Quận 2, on Friday June 1st & Saturday June 2nd 2018. Doors open at 7.30 pm and the program on both evenings starts around 8 pm pm and continues to around 10 pm although we will have breaks if people have to leave before the end.
Entry is free although we already have a lot of ticket reservations so you will need to reserve a ticket through Eventbrite. It’s free to reserve too.
This will be the audiences’ only chance to see many of these films as they are not in wide release or most times even available outside of film festivals. We really look forward to welcoming everyone and hosting a very rewarding, entertaining, informative and fun festival. See you there.