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Trinh Le Minh Hang | Producer, “Mamafia”

Vietnam’s Skyline Media wins Post Production Award at SAFF 2016.

Moms, Mobsters, and Forbidden Love seem to be the formula for a surefire drama-comedy story. Trinh Le Minh Hang, General Manager at Skyline Media Co. and Producer of the said Vietnamese story project, Mamafia, certainly can attest to that, after winning the Imaginex Studios Audio Post Production Award, which comprises a USD 35,000 full audio post-production package for the project.

Imaginex Studios and Basecamp Films awarded the coveted prize to Ms. Trinh, who presented the story alongside 14 other Southeast Asian story projects at the Southeast Asian Film Financing (SAFF) project market in Singapore last December 2016. Ms. Trinh explained to MediaConneX just how far the Post Production Award will propel Mamafia moving forward.

How did you conceptualize the idea behind Mamafia?

Two years ago, the scriptwriters of Mamafia pitched some ideas with me, and the story caught my attention right away just by its thrilling name. Some of the ideas that inspired my scriptwriting team were:

  • Based on the iconic, Godfather, we introduce a funny, unique female lead with a double identity, also known as “The Mamafia”
  • A story that would be set in Ho Chi Minh City where parking lot business is growing fast.   Where infrastructure development and traffic are big concerns especially in this fast-paced city.
  • A touching comedy about an overprotective, single mother and how she learns to compromise with her child who grows up in the digital age.
  • A secondary, forbidden “Romeo-Juliet” love story of two young people who are victims of the past generation’s conflicts.

MAMAFIA - Draft Poster

What made you decide to submit the story project to SAFF? What was the best thing about your entire SAFF experience?

I initially looked into Asia TV Forum (ATF) website to join as a buyer because Skyline is also a distribution company. Then I happened to see this valuable activity (SAFF/Screen Singapore) embedded in the ATF website. I thought, “Wow, there won’t be any better opportunity to buy content and to sell my project as the same time.”

However, I didn’t expect anything because I often see that selected projects are mostly art-house ones. I just gave it a try as the submission fee is affordable. And I still remember that fateful night (actually, right at midnight) in Seoul, when I heard the best news from SAFF from Justin Deimen (SAFF Core Team member), who informed me that Mamafia was accepted. To me, that was enough to be chosen because it gave me a chance to introduce a commercial Vietnamese script idea to the world. Yet, I still couldn’t imagine that I got awarded the Post Production prize. That’s really amazing! I think we deserve it because my team has made lots of effort in developing this idea for nearly 2 years, and my marketing team did a good job in analyzing and showing the appealing commercial factor for the project.

This is my first time to be in SAFF and it was wonderful. The organizing board is so helpful, friendly, and supportive in connecting me to potential partners, and also shared with me lots of experience in collaborating with foreign partners. I didn’t have full exposure to get to know other projects when I had to share my time for business acquisitions but I could recognize that all members had an enjoyable and valuable experience from what SAFF offered. For me, the opportunity to listen to Kathy Morgan’s sharing was unforgettable!

What’s the next, few steps for Mamafia in 2017?

I’m working with various local distributors and investors now on how to create investment deals as soon as possible. Likewise, I’m talking to some directors to consider who can be the best for my project. I’m planning a trip in March to visit Imaginex Studios and Basecamp Films in Malaysia to work out details about the sponsorship package. I’m very excited now to kick off everything.

 What are the ongoing shifts or trends in the film industry in Vietnam?

The Film industry in Vietnam is growing very fast in the last few years. Numbers of films (both foreign-produced and locally-produced) are increasing rapidly. Vietnam gets a lot of attention and concentration from MPA studios, and lots of indie films and Asian films are showing on big screens as well. For local films, when more and more films are being made, the pressure to stand out apart from the rest is extremely important. And same as Thailand, market share for local films are decreasing due to harsh competition with imported films. Therefore, we are in needs of good scripts to have more chances to win.



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Janice freelances as a Screenwriter and Director in the Philippines and the U.S., but her first, great love will always be Creative Writing. She's contributed for dailies and magazines in her island hometown of Cebu from the age of 14. One of her most exciting writing gigs was in the Film section of the now-defunct lifestyle webzine, Limité, in which she got to interview one of her filmmaker heroes, Richard Linklater in New York City in 2012. When she's not writing or daydreaming up stories, Janice loves to go backpacking around small islands, making driftwood art, and playing with her Shih-Poo dog, Brandy.

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