Meet ROOMMATE, Vietnam’s First Successfully Crowdfunded Film Project
ROOMMATE tells the story of two men who meet through a strange “roommate” service inside the mysterious Beetle Hotel. The pair of strangers quickly strikes up a meaningful relationship that eventually guides one towards the realization that there’s more to this hotel, his roommate and even himself than he first thought.
ROOMMATE was written/directed by Nguyễn Lê Hoàng Việt and produced by ever rolling films, and this is the first successfully crowdfunded film project in Vietnam.
Funding an independent film has always been a challenge, and creators of ROOMMATE took their chance in crowdfunding, which is yet a terra incognita for most of local filmmakers. To their surprise, the campaign was backed in just 2 months. The production kicked-off soon after this tremendous support from Vietnamese viewers and the final release was delivered in January 2018.
Although ROOMMATE has had limited screening by far, it was well-welcomed by the industry: Special Jury Award at the Hanoi International Film Festival’s Project Market and “Short film of the future” award from a panel of accomplished directors including: Tran Anh Hung, Phan Dang Di & Bui Thac Chuyen, to name a few.
Writer and Director Nguyễn Lê Hoàng Việt talks on the film concept: “The idea for ROOMMATE was first inspired by my own experience with the inescapable feeling of modern loneliness. Cities are more crowded than ever and yet somehow we all feel trapped in the chaos and are isolated into our own little “room”. We’re more interconnected than ever through social media and yet it’s difficult to find intimacy with the people who drift in and out of our lives, our “roommates”. These conflicting feelings make us question our needs and who we think we are.
Sentimental, but nonetheless ROOMMATE is a constant effort to express my current point of view about modern self-identity. Furthermore in Vietnam, gender/sexual identity is one of the most widely discussed social issues recently. LGBTQ+ identities are now being more openly examined with progress being made on the surface. But underneath, there is still a lot of confusion and skepticism. From script development to post production, my main goal is to suggest a more open view towards both self and gender identity, to urge connections between human beings instead of self-labeled individuals.
During the writing process, I also discovered a significant link between my concept and the art of origami – where the most sophisticated designs all come from a common, simple object: a piece of paper. That’s when ROOMMATE truly found a backbone and started growing”.
Follow ROOMMATE Facebook page to catch screenings in your city.
See more pictures and 2K Teaser Trailer here.
Nguyen Le Hoang Viet is one of the most promising young directors in Vietnam. A key member of We Are Filmmakers (the largest Vietnamese community for young filmmakers) with nearly 30 credits under his belt, Viet’s films are visually & emotionally evocative, telling unusual stories that possess a rare sense of maturity. Viet’s self-written and directed productions have been screened at numerous international film festivals and received prestigious awards. Most notably, in 2015 his short The Cat and the Orange Seeds won the Asia Talent Award at the Mako Film Festival in Hungary. ROOMMATE is his second directorial attempt.
Josh Levy is a Vietnam based producer from California. Throughout his career, he has accumulated over 50 short films credits and held production roles at major companies including Disney and FOX. After gaining years of experience in film and TV production in Hollywood, Josh came to Vietnam and founded ever rolling films in 2016. As ever rolling films’ CEO, he’s been passionately advocating for Vietnamese film talents and is determined to raise the local industry standards.
Starting Year: 2016
Runtime: 24:58 min
Genre: Drama, Surreal
Completion Date: 01/11/2018
Camera: Blackmagic Designs URSA Mini 4.6K
CAST & CREW
Directed by: Nguyễn Lê Hoàng Việt
Produced by: Josh Levy & Nguyễn Lê Hằng
Written by: Nguyễn Lê Hoàng Việt
Cinematography by: Hoàng Liên Sơn
Music by: Nguyễn Minh
Sound by: Hoàng Thu Thủy
Production company: ever rolling films
Editing by: Nguyễn Lê Hoàng Việt & Đỗ Huy Tạo Visual Effects by: Sparta Post Production
Production Design by: Sơn Bùi
Origami Artist and Instructor: Hoàng Tiến Quyết
Special Prop Designer (Currency): Tidus Fair Supertramp Camera: Trịnh Đức Trung
Phan – Đặng Cao Cường
Lam – Phạm Bảo Long
M – Nguyễn Sương Mai
The Receptionist – Lê Ngọc Diệp
Turtle maid – La Lam
Hands-On sincerely thanks Chuyện Bỏng Ngô (a video essay series about film and everything related to the medium of film) for their help in preparation of this material.