Film and Visual Arts Reaching New Heights in Vietnam - Monitoring the Implementation of the 2005 Convention

Film and Visual Arts Reaching New Heights in Vietnam - Monitoring the Implementation of the 2005 Convention

Reaching out to youth and raising their awareness on UNESCO's 2005 Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions to strengthen the country's creative industries and media landscape is key, according to Vietnamese film director, Ms. Nguyen Hoang Diep.

''Without a strategic plan of awareness raising, students in arts and film schools cannot keep up with international development,'' Nguyen Hoang Diep said while taking part in a UNESCO workshop held in Hanoi on March 28, 2016, to help strengthen reporting on the successes and challenges Viet Nam has faced in implementing the Convention.

''The UNESCO Convention has important implications for the Vietnamese economy. Creative professionals, the main drivers of the creative sector, need to be well aware of the international instruments which protect them and how they can contribute to implementing these instruments," the film director added.

From fostering film talent and mastering music to boosting the visual arts, Vietnam is now nurturing its creative industries through increased collaboration between informal and independent creative sectors in big cities such as Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh. UNESCO-led activities have helped forge new collaboration in cultural management between the ministries of information and communication, education, industry and trade; and to open up engagement with the independent cultural sector.

''To keep up with the demand there is a need for more NGOs to emerge to support creative sectors because at the moment, you have a situation where a lot of creative people are enable to get funding from international sources because they are not aligned with groups that represent them,'' Van Nguyen Thanh, Programme Officer in Culture, UNESCO Viet Nam office said.

Enhancing freedom of expression and the diversity of cultural expressions were key discussions taking place with participants recognizing the importance of the links between the economic value of their trade and sustainable development. The focus of the workshop, which brought together representatives from Government ministries, the film and music industries and NGO /civil society was to compile the country's periodic report, tracking the implementation of the 2005 Convention.

A national team of 16 people discussed a draft periodic report of Viet Nam which includes some 10 cultural policies that are thought to be making an impact on creative industries - such policies include a transparent rating for film distribution across the country.

''I believe that your inputs will contribute to deepen the analysis and ensure the accuracy and transparency of the report - which serves as a monitoring and evaluation tool of Viet Nam,'' Deputy Minister Dang Thi Bich Lien, Vietnam's Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism said referring to the national team responsible for the drafting of the periodic report.

The workshop has also helped forge new collaboration in cultural management between the ministries of information and communication, education, industry and trade.

Since it ratified the 2005 Convention, Viet Nam has invested in a long-term strategy for the development of visual arts to 2020. It calls for more training for artists, raising public awareness of the sector, promoting creative education in schools and emphasizes the need for public and private cooperation in the sector.

With exports of cultural goods in 2013 amounting to US $489.15 million (UIS), building on this economic success is key, as recognized Viet Nam's Ministry of culture in order to build on social and economic development in the country. In Viet Nam 6.4 percent of the population (5,79 million people) are living in poverty (UNDP).

Viet Nam has a growing technology and digital industry which is opening doors - offering a great opportunity for the expansion and diversification of the creative industries particularly in Hanoi and other big cities, according to International Expert, leading the workshop, Dr. Tom Fleming.

''Over the past 4 years I've seen the arts scene - that is conceptual contemporary art - grow and it is very connected to digital innovation and an independent cultural scene...which is very encouraging,'' Tom Fleming added.

The country has diversified film production through co- production with international partners, according to the international expert. Change is also visible through the emergence of international music events and festivals which bring to stage contemporary and young musicians from Viet Nam and foreign bands.

Funded by the Swedish Government under the overall project 'Enhancing Fundamental Freedoms through the Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions, this was the first in a series of workshops in Viet Nam. The first took place in November 2015 where participants were given an overview of the Convention and situation analysis of creative industries in the country.

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