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A feature length documentary exploring the rise and fall of Zone 9, a pharmaceutical factory turned art district in Hanoi, Vietnam.
A feature length documentary exploring the rise and fall of Zone 9, a pharmaceutical factory turned art district in Hanoi, Vietnam.
78 backers pledged $5,811 to help bring this project to life.

About this project

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THE STORY

In early 2013, an abandoned pharmaceutical factory in central Hanoi was transformed into Zone 9 – a unique arts and entertainment complex. Zone 9 attracted a host of motley characters from around the world, all hoping to share their ideas and showcase their talents. The space kept growing until December when its water and power were abruptly cut off and eviction notices served, forcing 60 establishments to shut down or relocate. The old factory complex once again sits silently beside a neighboring funeral parlor.

Revelers at Zone 9's Berlin Night.
Revelers at Zone 9's Berlin Night.

The story focuses on the struggle Zone 9's artists, residents and business owners endured while chasing after their dreams to freely express themselves and to bring art to their surroundings.

Worker carries buckets of cement during construction of Zone 9.
Worker carries buckets of cement during construction of Zone 9.

In eight months of brief wondrous existence, how had Zone 9 created a vibrant community for artists and cultural entrepreneurs? Why did the authorities shut it down in such haste? Above all, this documentary aims to share the creativity from Zone 9 by showcasing the talent it fostered.

An artist paints in his studio for the last time.
An artist paints in his studio for the last time.

THE (REAL) CHARACTERS

Zone 9 came to fruition thanks to the creative (and daring) minds behind it. This eclectic mix of personalities is the backbone of our film. Here are some of the people interviewed in this film.

PHUONG – designer and founder of Palette Workshop.

DUC – writer, former radio broadcaster and owner of Tadioto bar.

HAI – architect and owner of Bar Betta.

MANH – artist and creator of M Studio.

WHY MAKE THIS FILM?

For a brief moment Zone 9 became a fixture of the arts scene in Hanoi. I witnessed creative people from all around the world converge and share their passion with one another. It was such a breath of fresh air to experience something new in Hanoi.

Man sings exuberantly in the street.
Man sings exuberantly in the street.

The story of zone 9 encapsulates many of the issues that Vietnam has to face—lack of community space, LGBT issues, the desire for freedom of speech and expression, and the clash between generations.

The remnants of a beer hall.
The remnants of a beer hall.

Unfortunately, the closure of Zone 9 was barely reported on. The media in Vietnam is heavily censored, which makes it extremely difficult for a wider audience to understand what the space was and what it meant to those who contributed to its creation. If this film isn't made then these stories may never be told.

People wave to an aerial copter filming from above.
People wave to an aerial copter filming from above.

THE TEAM

Our collaborative team brings together several years of experience in film, art and storytelling.

  • Thu Nguyen, Director / Editor / Camera
  • Gabe Hernandez, Producer
  • Chuyen Bui, Editor

WHY SUPPORT THIS PROJECT

We have been working on this project for more than a year now. Making a documentary with such a limited budget is difficult. All shooting has been completed but there are still additional post-production costs. The funds raised will help pay for:

  • Sound edit
  • Sound mix
  • Color correction
  • DVD creation
  • Legal support
  • Film festival entry fees

Many filmmakers in Vietnam don't have the opportunity to have their films made—it's even harder for documentary filmmakers. For that reason the amount of documentaries exploring modern life in Vietnam is quite limited. Only with your support can this film be made.

SELECTED SCENES

Mami, of Nha San Collective, poses with his cacti installation.
Mami, of Nha San Collective, poses with his cacti installation.
Local musician plays experimental music.
Local musician plays experimental music.
Visiting photographer discusses her work.
Visiting photographer discusses her work.
An artist with his installation.
An artist with his installation.
Traditional meets contemporary.
Traditional meets contemporary.
Classroom space at Palette Workshop.
Classroom space at Palette Workshop.
Newlyweds kiss at their wedding cermony.
Newlyweds kiss at their wedding cermony.
Crowd cheers at a party marking the closure of Zone 9.
Crowd cheers at a party marking the closure of Zone 9.
The exodus.
The exodus.

Risks and challenges

Making a documentary film in Vietnam is extremely difficult due to heavy censorship. By making this documentary we open up the possibility for a backlash from those who disagree with the content of this film. We're past the point of no return—this film must be made!

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $5 or more About $5

    CREATOR — All backers receive a link to watch the film when it is released. Thanks for making the film possible!

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    Pledge $10 or more About $10

    SOJOURNER — A personal Zone 9 e-card will be sent to your e-mail address + receive a link to watch the film when it is released.

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    PATRON OF THE ARTS — Attend a virtual Q&A session with the director and producer + receive a link to watch the film upon release.
    (Two 1 hour sessions will be scheduled.)

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    CRAFTSMAN — A personalized Zone 9 wood stamp made by a local Vietnamese craftsman will be sent to you + receive a link to watch the film upon release.

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    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    BELIEVER — This film could not happen without you. As a token of gratitude you'll receive a signed DVD of the film + an invitation to a watch a screening in either NYC, LA or Hanoi.
    (Includes Q&A + streaming link to watch film)

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    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    ASSOCIATE PRODUCER CREDIT — You'll receive the title of associate producer for making this film possible! (Includes e-card, wood stamp, Q&A, digital download, DVD release, screening invitation.)

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    Pledge $1,000 or more About $1,000

    EXECUTIVE PRODUCER CREDIT — Thank you so much! Screen a rough cut of the film and provide feedback before the film's release + personal 45 min web chat with producer. (Includes Q&A, digital download, DVD release, screening invitation.)

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Funding period

- (30 days)