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Sunday, May 1, 2011

First Time Film Makers (Discovery Channel)

May 1, 2011

ABOUT FIRST TIME FILMMAKERS

Discovery Channel’s First Time Filmmakers (FTFM) first debuted in Europe in 1995 as a series entitled Outlaws, which focused on people in the United Kingdom who live on the fringes of society. In 1996, Discovery Channel commissioned South African Visions, a six-part series produced by emerging filmmakers from South Africa that took a look at contemporary issues in post-apartheid South Africa. In 1998, New Kids on the Bloc saw six young producers from Germany examine issues facing society in post-Berlin Wall Germany. In early 2000 Discovery Channel Europe commissioned Eco Warriors featuring the talents of Dutch producers in a series about environmental activism.

The First Time Filmmakers initiative was first launched in Asia-Pacific in Australia in September 2000. Southern Exposure showcased six films focused on contemporary Australian passions and issues.

In December 2001, Asia First Time Filmmakers: Past Forward featured a spectrum of traditions and cultures of six different Asian countries (Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan and Thailand) and the impact of modernization and technological advancement.

In 2002, 2004 and 2005, Discovery ran the FTFM initiative in China (including the Special Administrative Regions (SARs) of Hong Kong and Macau), addressing the impact of modernization and technological advancement on Chinese cultures and traditions, illustrating the rich tapestry of stories and creative new talent in China and bringing the filmmakers’ unique visions and perspectives to millions of Discovery Channel viewers. A total of 17 films were produced, each encapsulating the aspirations, challenges, and changes faced by China and her million-strong people, as the country rises to become a 21st century superpower.

In 2006, Discovery ran the FTFM initiative in China and Malaysia. The theme for China’s FTFM initiative was entitled Portraits China, stories of ordinary but charismatic individuals with extraordinary achievements. Together these six “Portraits” paint an intimate picture of contemporary China and provide international audiences with insight into the Chinese people and their culture. FTFM Malaysia’s documentaries commemorated 50 years of Malaysian independence and tell the story of the country’s remarkable growth from colony to independent nation over the last 50 years.

The FTFM initiative has already provided a showcase for the talents of filmmakers in Australia, United Kingdom, South Africa, Germany, Netherlands, South East Asia and China. These local filmmakers have received recognition on the international stage and their films have won several international awards including “Best Documentary” at the 2008 Asian Television Awards and “Best Director” at the 2006 Asian Television Awards (please see attached list).


DISCOVERY CHANNEL’S FIRST TIME FILMMAKERS VIETNAM EXPLORES THE COUNTRY’S RAPID URBAN TRANSITION THROUGH THE VISIONS OF FOUR LOCAL FILMMAKERS
- Resulting documentaries from the first-time launch in Vietnam to premiere this May -

The four documentaries by winners of Discovery Channel’s First Time Filmmakers (FTFM) Vietnam initiative premieres this May, providing unique perspectives of a nation that is quickly transforming from a rural-based society into an emerging force in the Asian regional economy. The series comprises four 30-minute documentaries which weave a rich tapestry of the country’s time-honoured traditions and culture, alongside the extraordinary social changes taking place as a result of modernisation.

Commenting on the films and the initiative, Kevin Dickie, senior vice president, content group, Discovery Networks Asia-Pacific, said, “Each of these documentaries reflects the filmmakers’ original ideas and tells a compelling story of Vietnam’s modernization and change, through unique local perspectives. We are excited to bring these fascinating and insightful stories to our viewers, and to provide the world with a window to Vietnam.”

FIRST TIME FILMMAKERS VIETNAM explores the country’s rapid urban transition through the unique visions of each filmmaker. Stories include the efforts of a group of “jam busters” who attempt to battle Hanoi’s notorious traffic congestion, a self-styled storyteller who captures the imagination of his audience with little more than ingenuity and the most basic of tools, the evolution of the urban landscape of Hanoi as the city celebrates its millennium anniversary, and an ancient reburial ritual that is at risk of disappearing. FIRST TIME FILMMAKERS VIETNAM premieres every Thursday at 2100 hrs (9:00 pm SIN/HK) starting May 5. Please refer to the individual programme descriptions for airing details.

Discovery Channel’s popular FTFM initiative was launched for the first time in Vietnam in August 2009. The four filmmakers and their proposed films were chosen based on a number of factors including the originality, quality and strength of the idea submitted, and their relevance to the theme of Vietnam’s urban transition over the past 20 years. This initiative underscores Discovery Channel’s commitment to helping develop the local filmmaking community and showcasing the talent of up-and-coming filmmakers on an international stage.


About Discovery Channel
Discovery Channel, the flagship network of Discovery Communications, is devoted to creating the highest quality non-fiction programming in the world and remains one of the most dynamic networks on television. First launched in 1985, Discovery Channel now reaches 174 million subscribers in Asia Pacific. Globally, Discovery Channel is one of the world’s most widely distributed television brands, reaching 393 million cumulative subscribers in over 180 countries in 40 languages. It offers viewers an engaging line-up of high-quality non-fiction entertainment from blue-chip nature, science and technology, ancient and contemporary history, adventure, cultural and topical documentaries. For more information, visit www.discoverychannelasia.com.

About Discovery Communications
Discovery Communications (NASDAQ: DISCA, DISCB, DISCK) is the world’s number one nonfiction media company reaching more than 1.5 billion cumulative subscribers in over 180 countries. Discovery empowers people to explore their world and satisfy their curiosity through 100-plus worldwide networks, led by Discovery Channel, Animal Planet, Discovery Science and Discovery HD, as well as leading consumer and educational products and services, and a diversified portfolio of digital media services including HowStuffWorks.com. In Asia Pacific, seven Discovery brands reach 508 million cumulative subscribers in 32 countries with programming customized in 13 languages.


FTFM ASIA
AWARD WINNING FILMS

FTFM 2007
Asian Television Awards 2008
China 21: The People’s Dumpling, Winner – Best Documentary, 30 minutes or less

FTFM 2006
Malaysian Film Festival 2008
Making the Cut, Winner – Best Documentary Film

FTFM 2005
Asian Television Awards 2006
China 21: Good Morning Beijing, Winner - Best Director

FTFM 2003
Asian Television Awards 2003
The Weight of Paper, Winner - Best Documentary, 30 minutes or less
Forever Beijing, Runner up - Best Documentary, 30 minutes or less
Beating Tradition, Runner up - Best Documentary, 30 minutes or less

New York Festivals 2003
Surviving Vinegar, Category: TV Programming & Promotion, Finalist Certificate - Promotional

FTFM 2001
Malaysian Film Awards 2003
The Boat Maker & The Sea, Winner - Best Documentary Film

US-ASEAN Film Festival 2003
Moving House, Winner - Best Documentary

Academy of Motion Picture, Arts and Sciences Awards 2002
Moving House, Category: Student, Winner - Best Documentary (Gold)

NEXTFRAME, Touring International Film Festival 2002
Moving House, Winner - Best Documentary

Chicago International Film Festival 2002
Moving House, Certificate of Merit

International Documentary Association Award 2002
Moving House, David L. Wolpher Student Film Award Finalist

Los Angeles Asia Pacific Film Festival 2002
Moving House, Golden Reel Award Finalist


FIRST TIME FILM MAKERS
EPISODE DESCRIPTIONS

Title: Jam Busters
Filmmaker: Phan Duy Linh
Vietnam's capital Hanoi, once that quaint city of wide boulevards and bicycles, has in a few short years transformed into a bustling economic engine. Its streets today are jam-packed with scooters, cars and trucks; each contributing to the motorist free-for-all Hanoi has gained infamy for. But some locals are looking to make a change. Tuyen reports for the popular Traffic Channel, educating listeners about traffic rules and encouraging them to report traffic jams live. Since the 'Voice of Vietnam' launched the channel 23 years ago, it has become the second most listened to channel in Hanoi. Another local, Dzung, is passionate about redesigning the traffic infrastructure to break the gridlock and create a cleaner and safer environment. And Ha Anh is the leader of a group of university student volunteers who are tired of being knocked off their motorbikes or being late for class. These "Jam Busters" form human chains in the middle of peak traffic to persuade Hanoi motorists to obey road rules.
Premieres on Thursday, May 5 at 2100 hrs (9:00 pm SIN/HK). Encores on Friday, May 6 at 0000 hrs (midnight), 0800 hrs (8:00 am) and 1400 hrs (2:00 pm).



Title: Mr Long’s Travelling Cinema
Filmmaker: Hoang Manh Cuong
For the last 50 years, Mr Long has entertained people on the streets of Hanoi with his own home-made style of storytelling - relying mainly on good old-fashioned ingenuity and some low-tech gadgetry to provide a multi-sensory experience for his audience. Mr Long projects paper cut-out images, then diffuses various aromas, simulates wind and rain with fans and water bottles, even producing sound effects with tin cans and string. But on the occasion of Hanoi's millennial celebrations, Mr Long wants to tell a story that will reach multiple audiences - using computer animation. The programme reveals the remarkable life story of Hanoi's charismatic raconteur.
Premieres on Thursday, May 12 at 2100 hrs (9:00 pm SIN/HK). Encores on Friday, May 13 at 0000 hrs (midnight), 0800 hrs (8:00 am) and 1400 hrs (2:00 pm).


Title: City of a Thousand Years
Filmmaker: Nguyen Manh Ha
Hanoi is evolving into a modern-day metropolis and its people are witness to changes taking place all over the city. Architect Quang Van Nguyen has spent the last four years on a mission to develop an ambitious housing plan he calls the “Utopia Project.” His vision is to build a self-sustainable city fuelled by renewable technology. In time, he hopes to pitch it to city planners with the power to decide the future of Hanoi’s changing landscape. A living example of such a change can be found in the East Gate, the last standing gate of ancient Hanoi. For 40 years, Madam Nhan has lived in a tiny opening in its wall. She will soon have to move as authorities begin restoration work on the gate in anticipation of the Hanoi Millennium. Meanwhile, contemporary artist Dao Anh Khanh prepares to stage a performance that will be his personal tribute to the city. He calls it the ‘Bridge of Sound’ - a large bamboo stage that acts as a physical metaphor for the old and the new. It is his artistic salute to Hanoi, a city frothing at the brim of modernity.
Premieres on Thursday, May 19 at 2100 hrs (9:00 pm SIN/HK). Encores on Friday, May 20 at 0000 hrs (midnight), 0800 hrs (8:00 am) and 1400 hrs (2:00 pm).



Title: Digging Up the Dead
Filmmaker: Dao Thanh Tung
For the Vietnamese, modernization is not only affecting them in life but also in death. Traditionally, people are not just buried once but twice. By digging up the bones of the dead, the Vietnamese believe their loved ones will reach the next world. Three years after her father-in-law's first burial, Mrs Mai and her family carefully plan his re-burial ceremony in Hanoi's biggest cemetery: Van Dien. Millions of Vietnamese have been buried here over the past 50 years. It is an emotional time for Mrs Mai as she revisits the pain and loss of death. However, she is committed to fulfilling the deceased's wishes. Similarly, the men and women who dig the graves take their responsibility to the dead very seriously. But change is afoot as Van Dien Cemetery is set to be closed. Now, grave diggers such as Mr Luong must come to terms with their future as more and more break tradition and instead turn to cremation.
Premieres on Thursday, May 26 at 2100 hrs (9:00 pm SIN/HK). Encores on Friday, May 27 at 0000 hrs (midnight), 0800 hrs (8:00 am) and 1400 hrs (2:00 pm).


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VinVin


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