26-28 October 2020

23rd Asian Project Market

2020 Project

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Project Who Created Human Beings No. 21
Director LE Binh Giang
Country Vietnam / Singapore
Producer LE Quynh Anh / Panuksmi HARDJOWIROGO
Production Company Hanoi Doclab / M’GO Films
Writer LE Binh Giang
Genre Thriller
Running time 120′
Project StatusScript Development
Director’s Profile
Le Binh Giang is a young film director based in Vietnam. He graduated from the Ho Chi Minh City Academy of Theatre and Cinema in 2017, has made several short films, and his directorial debut feature, KFC (2016), was selected at International Film Festival Rotterdam 2017, New York Asian Film Festival 2017, and Five Flavours Asian Film Festival 2017 in Warsaw, among others. Giang holds a unique position in Vietnamese independent cinema; he is not only a pioneer in genre films but also his films, whether commercial or arthouse, always have trouble with the censors. But censored or not, controversial or not, Giang is never afraid to tell his stories, and he continues on his journey with a forbidden love story of a policeman and a Catholic in Who Created Human Beings.
Producer’s Profile
Le Quynh Anh is an emerging Vietnamese filmmaker/producer, who graduated from film school in 2017. She is an alumnus of NAFF Fantastic Film School 2018, Film Leaders Incubator 2017 and has been an artist on “Things that Remember”, an international site-specific art show, since 2016. Recently she won a Rotterdam Lab Award at the Open Doors Lab, Locarno Film Festival 2019.

Production company Hanoi Doclab was founded by Nguyen Trinh Thi in 2009, and is a small center for big ideas in documentary and experimental films and video art, helping cultivate a new generation of Vietnamese independent filmmakers and media artists while nurturing a more critical awareness in local audiences of different film practices. With an award-winning line up and unrivalled reputation in the local film industry for producing experimental and creative documentaries, Doclab is hoping to produce more varied content, break boundaries and reach beyond limitations of genre.
Panuksmi Hardjowirogo, co-founder of M’GO Films, produces film, TV and immersive multimedia museum installations. She is focused on co-producing projects that originate from intricate stories rooted in Southeast Asia. Born in Jakarta, Panuksmi spent her formative years in New York City, until she moved to Montreal to pursue her studies in film. She has been residing in Singapore since 2004.

Production company M’GO Films (Singapore) was co-founded by Panuksmi Hardjowirogo and Michel Cayla to develop and produce narratives for film, TV and interactive multimedia installations that respect cultural diversity as being vibrant and inherently complex. Each project is an opportunity to address the fundamental question: how do we present original stories in today’s context?
Synopsis
Sinh and Linh have been in love for five years. One day, Linh finds out that she is pregnant. Linh asks Sinh to marry her, so that the baby will not be illegitimate, but without revealing her pregnancy. Because Linh is Catholic, to marry Linh, Sinh will have to convert to Catholicism. However, this is impossible for Sinh, as according to unwritten Vietnamese laws, policemen are not allowed to marry Christians. At the same time, Sinh is investigating a murder case; a headless dead body found with the head of another person inside the stomach. The head belongs to 16-year-old Hang. Linh’s close friend, Nga, opens an illegal abortion clinic. Recently, Nga hired a helper, Dao. Sometimes, we see Dao burying the aborted fetuses. Sinh struggles between resigning or breaking up with Linh to pursue his police career. Finally, Sinh breaks up with Linh. A second body is found, murdered in the same manner. The body belongs to Hang. Sperm on the body tests positive for the DNA of Tuan – Hang’s client (she was a prostitute). Tuan is arrested, and says that he took Hang to have an abortion before her murder. Linh is upset, thinking that Sinh does not really love her. She has an abortion at Nga’s, and afterwards walks alone crying on the street. We see a person following her. Sinh goes to the address Tuan gave him, where the owner confirms that the victims had abortions there. Sinh sees drawings of headless women, which belong to an ex-staff member. Sinh sees Linh’s missed calls and calls her back but she does not pick up. Nga tells Sinh that Linh just left and tells him about Linh’s pregnancy, which she just aborted. Sinh rushes to look for Linh everywhere. The next morning, they find Linh’s headless body. Sinh goes mad. A month later, a suspect is found, Dao. Sinh is about to shoot Dao but is held back. He resigns. Sinh walks on the same roads he and Linh used to stroll together. Sinh goes into the church where Linh used to go to mass. There is a wedding in progress. Sinh stabs the priest to death.
Director’s Statement
I used to have a very best friend. His true love was also my friend. They had been together for more than 10 years. However, her parents were Catholics and they wanted her to marry a religious man. She was torn between family love and her passionate love for my friend. It hurt when she had to make a final decision. One day, she married a man who she had only known for 4 months, and despite being dissuaded from going to her wedding, my friend still did. After the party, he left in tears, alone. The day after, I heard that he had been killed in an accident. A truck ran him over, crushing his body when he drove in a truck lane. I wondered, between family love, romantic relationships, and religious beliefs, which would we choose? Which would we sacrifice? This story was too painful, and it haunted me for years to come. I have never had the courage to date any Catholic girls myself since then.
Through this film, I want to use my cinematic language to tell stories of beautiful but sorrowful loves: the love between Sinh and Linh, between them and their families, and also between them and God.
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