Must’ve been a windy night at the 8th Annual Canh Dieu Vang/Golden Kite  Awards last March 14th.

The cinematic adaption called Dung Dot/Don’t Burn of Dang Thuy Tram’s martyr based on her diary won the night’s most important award for best feature film.

Dung Dot/Don’t Burn is a production by director Nhat Minh and has already received honors in the Fukuoka Film Festival and the 16th annual Mai Vang Film Festival. The film was also nominated to participate in the Oscars last year. Besides the Best Movie, Don’t Burn also went away with 5 other awards:  Best Leading Actress (Minh Huong), Best Director (NSDN Dang Nhat Minh), Best Art Director (NSUT Pham Quoc Trung), Best Sound Effects (NSUT Bang Bac Hai) and Audience’s Choice. The last award proves that VietNamese audiences are beginning to appreciate more artistic films. Last year, the Audiences’ Choice went to director Victor Vu’s romantic comedy, Chuyen Tinh Xa Xu/Passport to Love.

Meanwhile, Don’t Burn‘s biggest competitor–Choi Voi/Adrift only received an Encouragement Award and 2 others for Best Cinematography (NSUT Ly Thai Dung) and Best Supporting Actress (Linh Dung).

On the same boat as Choi Voi/Adrift is Bay Rong/Clash, which, other than the Encouragement Award, did not receive any Golden Kites though it was highly rated. In contrast, 14 Ngay Phep/ 14 Vacation Days which originally received negative feedback  for its boring plot & amateur acting performance causing the film to withdraw from theatres only 2 weeks after the premiere, took home the 2nd highest honor, the Silver Kite. In addition, the movie collected a Best Leading Actor award for Trinh Hoi,  Best Supporting Actor for Thai Hoa and Best Original Screenplay for Nguyen Trong Khoa.

The most confusing award announcement was for Best Supporting Actress. The background  screen showed Linh Dan’s image but Linh Dung was called for the award (aww, sucks for Linh Dan). Both were excellent with their roles but the confusion raised suspicions about the rightful winner. Even the award’s announcer, actor Tran Bao Son, was confused if the envelope that he received or the clip on the screen was right. (What a horrible mistake!)

This year’s Golden Kites seem to  focus more on newcomers. Trinh Hoi, Minh Huong (Best Leading Actor & Actress), Linh Dung (Best Supporting  Actress), Bao Thy (Promising Young Actress), Truong Thi May (Best noncommercial film Actress), Kim Tuyen (Best TV drama Actress) were all quite new to acting. They have received compliments and good feedback from the critics.

COMPLETE LIST OF  2009 WINNERS:

TV dramas:
Golden Kite: “Vịt kêu đồng/Duck in the Field”
Silver Kite: “Lều chõng/Heading For the Royal Exam”; “Bước nhảy xì tin/Teenage Dance Steps”; “Men say/Into Deep”
Encouragement: “Ngõ vắng/Empty Lane”; “Lập trình cho trái tim/Programming the Heart”; “Chuyện tình đảo ngọc/Love Story on Pearl Island”
Best Director: Nguyễn Thanh Vân (“Heading For the Royal Exam”)
Best Actor: Hoàng Sơn (“Duck in the Field”)

Video Films:
Golden Kite: “Khoan nói lời yêu thương/Don’t Say Love Yet”
Silver Kite: “Đường đua/Race track”; “Mười ba bến nước/13 Shores”
Best Director: Phạm Nhuệ Giang (“Don’t Say Love Yet”)
Best Actor: Phạm Cường (“Don’t Say Love Yet”)

Video Documentary:
Golden Kite: “Thuở bình minh tân nhạc/The Early dawn of New Music”
Silver Kite: “Phận rối/Tangled Status”; “Trăng 14/14th Moon”; “Lưng trần Rmah Thim”
Encouragement : “Lửa hồng của bản/Rose of the Pink Fire”; “Thảm họa da cam/Agent Orange catastrophe”; “Người giữ thành Hà Nội/Hanoi’s keeper”

Feature Documentary:
Golden Kite: “Người thắp lửa/Fire Lighter”
Silver Kite: “Văn miếu Quốc Tử Giám/HaNoi Temple of Literature”
Encouragement : “Lời thề từ trái tim chiến sĩ/Promise from a Soldier’s Heart”
Best Director : Nguyễn Như Vũ (“Fire Lighter”)

Sci-Fi Film:
Golden Kite: “Một ngày với Voọc quần đùi/A day with Delacour’s Langur”
Silver Kite: “Khi không thể vượt qua chính mình/When Unable to Surpass Yourself”; “Loài Nhan Điểm ở Gáo Rồng”
Encouragement: “Khu trung tâm Hoành thành Thăng Long – Hà Nội”; “Vì sự phát triển bền vững/For a Stable Improvement”
Best Director: Nguyễn Hồng Quảng (“A day with Delacour’s Langur”)

Animation Film:
Golden Kite: “Thung lũng cỏ vàng/Yellow Grass Valley”
Silver Kite: “Bà Triệu/Lady Trieu”
Encouragement : “Những chú cá lạc đàn/Lost Fishes”
Best Director : Lê Bình (“Yellow Grass Valley”)

Contributing to Research, Theory, & Criticism:
Golden Kite: None
Silver Kite: “Tạo hình thiết kế mỹ thuật phim truyện/Designing graphics for movies”
Encouragement : “Thuật ngữ Điện ảnh – Truyền hình/Movie & TV terminology”; “Điện ảnh Việt Nam thời hội nhập/Vietnamese Cinema during the Age of Integration”