- Running time: 60 minutes
- Language: Vietnamese (with English subtitles), English
- Format: HD (1080p)
- Writer/Director/Editor: Thu Nguyen
- Producer: Gabriel Hernandez
- Editor: Chuyen Thac Bui
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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.
The story follows the narration of Phuong Vu Manh (contemporary artist, M Studio), Tran Vu Hai (interior designer, Bar Betta owner), Nguyen Quy Duc (owner of bar and creative space Tadioto) and Tham Cam Phuong (owner of Palette Workshop – an art space for kids and adults) and other characters through the formation, development and destruction of Zone 9. The industrial architecture, cheap rents and the freedom of empty spacious buildings attracted both artists and entrepreneurs. In barely two months, news of the complex had spread far beyond the arts community. An estimated number of a thousand patrons, including both locals and foreigners, visited Zone 9 each day to wander around cafes, boutiques, art studios, bars and other creative venues.
On 19th November 2014, an accident occurred on a construction site in Zone 9 causing the death of 6 people. Since then rumors about the shutdown of the complex spread around the community and public media. Nothing was clear until the 23rd of December when power and water were cut along with an issued notice from the local authorities for the premises to be vacated completely by New Years Eve. Zone 9 crumbled into pieces in a matter of days.
Two months later, the complex that used to be Zone 9 is derelict. Those with memories of Zone 9 have since moved on with their lives whether it be making art, teaching kids, or running bars and cafés. On the surface a sense of normalcy has returned however something feels amiss…
STILLS FROM THE FILM
Zone 9 – A Documentary Film trailer on Vimeo
Coming back from 2 years of traveling extensively (New York City, Brazil, Jamaica to name a few), Nguyen Anh Thu has a strong desire to make documentaries conveying social issues and problems people have to face in her home country. To her, documentary is a powerful media which has not been used to its full potential to tell stories and spread social awareness in Vietnam.
Her first film “When we were 20” won the first prize for documentary in 2009 by the “We are filmmakers” project and was screened at several universities in United States, including Yale, NYU and Princeton. Nguyen Anh Thu’s second short is about the influence of urbanization on a small village in Hanoi while her third film, which is now under post-production, explores a reforestation and conservation project in the Atlantic rainforest of Brazil.
Gabriel Hernandez is a Hanoi expat and native New Yorker with a strong appreciation of documentary film, art and travel. To him Zone 9 was an important part of the development of the local arts scene in Vietnam and thus aims to showcase its contributions with this documentary. Gabriel’s entrepreneurial and artistic experience helps bring a broad range of knowledge and talent to the project.
Chuyen Thac Bui
Best known for his internationally awarded films Adrift and Living in Fear, Bui Thac Chuyen is one of the most talented and experienced filmmaker in Vietnam. He is also a very community oriented filmmaker who has spent the last 12 years helping The Centre for Assistance and Development of Movies (aka TPD) become a strong and dynamic community fixture for young filmmakers in Hanoi.