Vietnamese film distributors are waking up to a growing market for Vietnamese films – is this a new age for domestic films? Is this the birth of “Vinawood”?

After travelling to nearly ten international film festivals, the award winning movie Choi Voi/Adrift will be screened in Vietnam from November 3 through distributors Thien Ngan/Galaxy.

The distribution of Choi Voi also marks Thien Ngan’s new strategy – increasing the distribution of Vietnamese films to the local market.

Distribution manager Dinh Thanh Huong explained Choi Voi’s distribution marks a change in attitudes and the realisation that there is a growing market for domestically made films in Vietnam.

Huong explained: “Galaxy distributes, screens and produces movies. Through this distribution we are seeing that Vietnamese audience want to watch Vietnamese films. However, currently the revenue from local films is very low compared to our total revenue from distribution.

“The ratio of local films distributed in Vietnam is low, around 5-7 percent of the total, compared to over 50 percent in China or approximately 50 percent in Thailand.

“However, the market for Vietnamese film in Vietnam can develop strongly if we get the distribution right. Also, we are willing to distribute both films produced by the state and private film studios.”

Galaxy now says it wants to work with film producers to ensure there is diversification in local market so that the audience can grow.

Phạm Linh Đan, Đỗ Hải Yến, & director Bùi Thạc Chuyên at the Venice Film Festival with "Choi Voi" a while back

Huong adds: “For Choi Voi, we and the producers worked out the distribution plan before the film was shot. As a film producer, we have tried to work with more directors to diversify film categories. We planed to distribute and market films for Vietnamese partners ahead of next summer.”

Galaxy also says that while ticket prices are set by cinemas themselves they don’t suggest a policy of cutting prices for Vietnamese films. Instead they suggest that with many cinemas offering differing prices viewers can make their own choices.

In Hanoi, Choi Voi will be screened at the Megastar with comparatively high ticket prices of 50,000-80,000 VND and the National Cinema Centre at 30,000-40,000 VND. In HCM City, it will be introduced at four different cinema “systems”

Huong adds: “We want to build up the habit of watching Vietnamese films among Vietnamese people and expand market share. The Vietnamese movie market is too small

“At present we don’t aim to profit in distributing Vietnamese films. Instead we will share the challenges of Vietnamese producers and we’ll support Vietnamese films. In the long run, we hope everyone will benefit.”


After its “marathon” at international film festival, Moon at the Bottom of the Well was screened at three cinema systems in HCM City – Megastar Hung Vuong, Megastar Tan Son Nhat and Cinebox.

Apart from local films for the Tet holiday, many famous Vietnamese movies like Black Forest, Pao’s Story, Desolate Valley, Living in Fear, Little Heart, Don’t Burn, The Dance of the Death, and I Want to Be Famous faced difficulties in distribution in Vietnam.

Some of them were screened at Fafilm cinema and Idecaf in HCM City, the National Cinema Centre in Hanoi. Black Forest, Vietnam’s only nominee for the Oscar Award 2008, missed the chance for not satisfying the condition  of “being commercially screened for at least seven consecutive days”.