Vu Ngoc Dang has made history after becoming the first director of a commercial film to win a Golden Lotus award for Best Director at the National Film Festival held in the central city of Phu Yen.
His homosexual love Hot Boy Noi Loan, Cau Chuyen Ve Thang Cuoi, Co Gai Diem va Con Vit (Lost in Paradise) scooped up two other Golden Lotus prizes, including Best Supporting Actor for Ho Vinh Khoa and Best Cameraman for Nguyen Nam.
Lost in Paradise has been shown in many other international film festivals this year.
Dang did not to attend the closing ceremony on December 17 to pick up his trophy.
"What a pity! Dang is a third generation director of Vietnamese cinema. He and other established directors like Dao Ba Son and Nhue Giang have made the festival successful," said director Luu Trong Ninh, head of the jury panel for the Feature Film category, when he was unable to hand the award over to Dang directly.
Canh Dong Bat Tan (Floating Lives) – the most anticipated film in the Golden Lotus competition, shared the award for Best Actress in a three way tie with Tam Hon Me (Mother's Soul) and Long Thanh Cam Gia Ca (A Song about a Musician in Thang Long Citadel).
The festival offers prizes in three categories, including Golden Lotus, Silver Lotus, and Jury Prize. The top Golden Lotus award for Best Picture was not awarded to any film this year.
Silver awards were given to Mui Co Chay (Scent of Burnt Grass), Lost in Paradise and Vu Dieu Dam Me (Passionate Dancing).
Quach Ngoc Ngoan grabbed the award for Best Actor in the historical film A Song about a Musician in Thang Long Citadel.
Despite being his first leading role in a film, Ngoan trounced other competitors including a powerful nominee, Dustin Nguyen, who stared in Floating Lives. "I have so many people to thank for their belief in my acting. I want to share my happiness with the movie crew who I worked with during three long winter months," said the actor from the south.
The other race that captured a lot of attention was the best actress category. Two of three nominees had a lot of potential going into the competition, including Ninh Duong Lan Ngoc of Floating Lives which earned her the Cinematography Association's award in 2010. Phung Hoa Hoai Linh, a 12-year girl, won Best Actress at the Dubai Film International Asia-Africa Category last December 14 for her role in the Mother's Soul.
Ngoc ended up sharing the prize with My Hanh, the last one of the three nominees for Best Actress in a Leading Role. Hanh stared in Passionate Dancing. She was absent from the ceremony but the film's director accepted the award on her behalf.
"Thanks! Once again, it's a great happiness for a young actress like me to receive this award," Ngoc said in her acceptance speech.
Ngoc was also awarded Best Foreign Actress at the 20th China Golden Rooster Festival this year.
This was the first time all three nominees in the festival's Best Actress category were not veteran performers and even included an amateur.
In the Best Supporting Actress category, Le Khanh and Phuong Thanh from the films Dai Chien Co Dau (Brides' War) and Floating Lives shared the honours.
Other awards were given out at the ceremony held in the Sao Mai Theatre in the central province of Phu Yen including: Screenwriter's Award to Hoang Nhuan Cam for Scent of Burnt Grass; Cameramen Awards for Nguyen Nam and K'Linh; Artistic Design for A Song about a Musician in Thang Long's Citadel; and Musician Awards for the sound editors of Nhung Nu Hon Ruc Ro (Bright Kisses) and Passionate Dancing.
Golden Lotus award were given to the science film Buom, Con Trung Canh Vay (Butterfly, Lepidopteran Insect); the documentary film Hoang Sa Trong Long To Quoc (Paracel Islands in the Heart of the Nation) and animated film Chiec La (A Leaf).
For the first time, a prize awarded by the Vietnam Cinematography Association was given to director Nguyen Quang Dung, who has been working as film director nearly 10 years.