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A conversation with American filmmaker in Vietnam

Thu, 25 Sep 2014 . Last updated Mon, 01 Jun 2015 14:08

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Surely through the conversation with Eric Neudel, a famous American documentary filmmaker, Vietnamese young people will find the inspiration in making documentary as well as have positive change to make the life better.

This is a fellow who is the inspiration for the film itself. Eric Neudel had met him by chance at an award ceremony where he was receiving an award. He lost his speech so they had to talk just extemporaneously and he was just magnificent and what he was talking about very philosophical, very powerful speaker. So Eric decided right at that moment he had to make film about this fellow took about 3 seconds. The man with disability was a genius so he had complete confidence in himself. It’s incredible to see somebody who could move on wheel bed and had very limited control of his body, he was so confident about himself. Eric needs to learn from this man after he decided to make a film about him. Eric started visiting him. Every Thursday he would go and talk to him. At first Eric thought he would make a film about the life of this man. But then he realized he that man didn’t want him to make a film about his life. He wanted Eric to make film about thing that he cared about. What he cared about was at that time very obscure movement the disability rights movement in the US.

In the northern province of Thai Nguyen, Eric Neudel and Alison Gilkey have been holding the screening Vietnamese women disability one member of the “photo voice” project. Many of them have been involved in social activities. And the film urged them to try harder and be more aware of their rights. The film is great benefits to people in the remote areas with a lack of exposure to the society. The “Photo voice” project is the initiative program that trains people with disability in photography and gives them the chance to document their life, perhaps even to find employment in the field.

The people in this photography class, their chance to see this film is an impetus for them to change themselves and the thoughts of the leaders about the disabled.  Tear lies in the faces of attendees today. Perhaps, deep in their mind, essential message of the film is hurting. It is all about the power of humanity and self-determination and what man can do to overcome these insurmountable obstacles.

 In 2010, Vietnam National Assembly ratified the law on person with disability and also on the first day of January, 2011 this law took effect. Vietnam is trying very hard in order to ensure the equality for people living with disability, but it is still limited and needs to put more effort. “Life worth living” is the first television documentary on the struggle equal right by people with disability in the US, one of the largest minorities in the country that numbers around 60 million people. The film began in the post-Second World War when the position of people with disability began to change rapidly. The end of film is the ratifying law on the US disabled in 1990, one of the most important civil legislation in America history.

During his visit in Vietnam, Eric has a meeting with number of Vietnamese younger filmmakers to share his experience of making film. The exchange took place at the US consulate in Ho Chi Minh City. Attendees were mainly independence Vietnamese filmmakers looking to gain experience from foreign colleagues. Eric Neudel was happy to share his 40-year experience with Vietnamese colleagues.  This was the first time, Eric Neudel came to Vietnam. He came as the invitation of American film showcase of project sponsor by US State Department. They bring a world winning American documentary and filmmakers to different part of the world. For Eric the trip help him to learn more about his colleagues in Vietnam as well as the landscapes of independent land making here.

Eric Neudeul has been edited 3 out of 13 episodes of Vietnam- A television history in production by the public broadcasting service or PBS in the early 1980s. The series is considered as the best television documentary that American filmmakers have ever made about the Vietnam War. Vietnam – A television history won all 6 Emmy and many other honorable awards. The film helps him change the opinion about the war in Vietnam. Therefore, in the future, he has plan to make a film of “real cost” of war in Vietnam.


Source: VTV4 –

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