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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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