Digital Media students at RMIT Vietnam have continued their award-winning run with a Best Cinematography win in a competition run by Hoa Sen University.
The team made The Other Side, a short film exploring the issue of school bullying, entered in Hoa Sen’s SFilm Contest.
All team members, Nguyen Mai Anh, Le Nhat Thanh, Nguyen Dinh Qui and Pham Huu Bach, are studying Time-Based Media within the Centre of Communication and Design.
Technically, explained Thanh, the film explores time distortion in a moment when a girl’s high school classmates are tormenting her by dunking her head in a tub of water and holding her under.
“The victim goes through an out-of-body experience, hence going against the normal rule of time,” he said.
“At first she seems to be a weak and pitiful girl who can’t/ doesn’t make effort to fight for herself.
“She is in fact a strong spirit who doesn’t give in to the terrible situation but finds her own way to fight back using her imagination.”
To show this, the film is shot underwater using a balloon image to represent the girl’s imaginary world.
Thanh said the film doesn’t explicitly criticise bullying but shows how the student copes with the situation.
Nevertheless, the brutality of bullying is apparent and the other schoolgirls come across as thugs.
Lecturer Paul Smith said that the group had pushed the Time Based Media course to new heights.
“The film team broke new ground in terms of confronting difficult subject matter: girls bullying each other at school,” he said.
“And in terms of cinematography the team used underwater filming imaginatively, taking advantage of the university’s new film equipment with waterproof casing.
“We’re also pleased that the film’s director, Nguyen Mai Anh, joins a flourishing group of female film directors within RMIT Vietnam. Traditionally, women of all nationalities are under-represented in film directing.”
Story: Sharon Webb