The Golden Star Award Winners at the Ho Chi Minh City International Film Festival

The Golden Star Award Winners at the Ho Chi Minh City International Film Festival

The Ho Chi Minh City International Film Festival (HIFF) in Vietnam recently concluded its first edition, with The Gospel Of The Beast taking home the prestigious Golden Star Award for Best Southeast Asian Film. Directed by Sheron Dayoc from the Philippines, the film captivated audiences and critics alike with its powerful storytelling and compelling visuals. Another standout at the festival was Last Shadow At First Light, a Singapore-Japan collaboration helmed by Nicole Midori Woodford, which received multiple accolades including the Jury Prize, best cinematography, best screenplay, and best visual effects.

The festival also recognized exceptional talent in acting, with Oasis Of Now earning awards for best director and best actress for Vietnam’s Tạ Thị Dệu. This poignant film follows the journey of an immigrant and showcases the emotional depth and nuance of its lead actress. Other notable performances that received recognition at the festival include Mark Lee for best actor in Singaporean drama Wonderland, Peter Yu for best supporting actor in the same film, and Rawipa Srisanguan for best supporting actress in Thailand’s Solids By The Seashore.

In addition to stellar performances, the festival also honored technical achievements in filmmaking. Indonesian action drama 13 Bombs was lauded for its exceptional sound design and editing, while Cambodian drama Tenement impressed with its outstanding production design. The Japan-Philippines co-production Blue Imagine stood out for its captivating original score, adding an extra layer of depth to the film’s narrative.

The festival also shone a spotlight on up-and-coming talent in the industry, with Mongolia’s Lkhagvadulam Purev-Ochir winning Best Film in the First or Second Film Competition for City Of Wind. Saudi filmmaker Ali Kalthami was also recognized for his work in Night Courier. Additionally, Best Short Film was awarded to Leila, showcasing the diverse range of storytelling in the short film format.

The success of the Ho Chi Minh City International Film Festival is a testament to the growing interest in cinema in Vietnam and the region. With a recent change in Vietnam’s Cinema Law enabling local city governments to host film festivals, the festival has opened up new opportunities for filmmakers to showcase their work. Led by a dedicated team of festival organizers, including executive director Pham Minh Toan and artistic director Nguyen Vinh Son, the festival has become a platform for cultural exchange and artistic innovation.

The Golden Star Award winners at the Ho Chi Minh City International Film Festival have demonstrated the rich diversity and talent present in Southeast Asian cinema. From powerful storytelling to technical excellence, the festival celebrated the best in filmmaking and provided a platform for emerging filmmakers to shine. As the festival continues to grow and evolve, it will undoubtedly play a crucial role in promoting cultural exchange and artistic collaboration in the region.


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