1/ Losing my grandma:
Before, my family was only her and my mom. Now she’s gone.
This is a short film I made in the summer about her:
Death is a strange thing. It seems natural and expected, until it happens to someone really close to you.
2/ Making Footfalls in spite of grief and obstacles:
Footfalls is the 2nd short film I directed at the Northern Film School, after Bird Bitten. I lost my grandma the week before filming, and it was probably the most difficult shoot I’ve ever had. But I completed it, and later, on the editing table changed it completely and gave it a rebirth, so to speak. In spite of its flaws (for I know it is a flawed little film), it means a lot to me personally and I’m proud to say that on the editing table, the editor and I created the best version of the film possible, with the footage we got.
3/ Having Footfalls screened at Viet Film Fest in California:
And then it was mentioned on Vietcetera as the most surprising or unusual Vietnamese film of 2018 (near the end):
I don’t take it too seriously—as a film student and aspiring filmmaker, I know my own strengths and weaknesses, and I don’t see that as a testament to my abilities or anything. But that does mean a lot, because Footfalls feels very personal to me, not only because of the hard time when it was made, but also because it’s loosely based on a tragic true story, and that could have easily gone wrong and become cheap, exploitative, or corny, but it didn’t. At least I know that I could tell a story completely with feet and shoes, without faces, and without words—the feet show the actions, express the emotions, and say something about the characters.
4/ Moving in with my bf:
Which makes him my partner, but I’m used to referring to him as bf. Things became much better.
My mom also lives with us—she no longer wants to live in Norway after the loss of my grandma.
5/ Creating a Vimeo page and a Youtube channel:
Also, I’ve made the 1st video essay, about Persona.
6/ Regarding books, this year I read 2 books by Nabokov: The Gift and Speak, Memory.
Another great book I read in 2018 was The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy.
7/ Here are the 10 best films I watched in 2018:
The Innocents (1961), dir. Jack Clayton
Yojimbo (1961), dir. Akira Kurosawa
F for Fake (1975), dir. Orson Welles
Thelma & Louise (1991), dir. Ridley Scott
Sideways (2004), dir. Alexander Payne
Eyes without a Face (1960), dir. Georges Franju
The Third Man (1949), dir. Carol Reed
The Last Detail (1973), dir. Hal Ashby
Trainspotting (1996), dir. Danny Boyle
Letter from an Unknown Woman (1948), dir. Max Ophuls
Special mention is La Jetée (1966), dir. Chris Marker, which is a 20-minute film.
All of these are important, but the 3 films that have a greatest impact are The Innocents (blocking and framing), F for Fake (narrative and editing, as well as the themes), and La Jetée (the ideas and the form, which is a film told in still images). Because of The Innocents, I’m currently reading Henry James’s The Turn of the Screw.
I watched some more Bergman films, but I think the 2 most significant directors this year, to me, are Luis Bunuel and Orson Welles. Orson Welles, because of his enormous talent and fearlessness—I watched F for Fake, The Trial, The Lady from Shanghai, Touch of Evil, The Magnificent Ambersons, and The Stranger. As one of the masters, he has very few great films, in fact, I think only Citizen Kane and F for Fake are truly great, among the ones I’ve seen, but they are always fascinating in terms of blocking and cinematography, especially lighting, and have some magnificent moments, offering a lot to learn from.
With Luis Bunuel, I rewatched the last 3 films—The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie, Phantom of Liberty, and That Obscure Object of Desire; and also watched again Belle de jour, which I now perceived differently and started to really like. Bunuel is a favourite director that I would hesitate to call an influence, because I can’t say what his style is, but he does make me realise what kind of films I want to make—mixture of reality and dreams. My current project Non-Person is a surrealist film.
8/ Directing my own script for graduation film:
This includes 1st time of pitching on a stage (at a cinema), 1st time making a film about a Vietnamese character, and 1st time pitching to the camera.
I started writing the script of Non-Person in the summer, and pitched in October. My script got greenlit (only 12 scripts out of 29), then recently the production also got greenlit, and we’re filming in February 2019.
We are crowdfunding at the moment because our budget from the film school isn’t enough. If you want to have a look, this is the link: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/non-person-short-film--2/x/19967365
Please donate if you can. That would be greatly appreciated. Or you could share it on social media.
How was your year?