At only 18 years of age, Nguyen Phuong Uy Viet has already produced two short films. Now, having won RMIT Vietnam’s President’s Scholar award, Viet will be supported as he continues to pursue big dreams as a filmmaker.
An early love of film
Viet created his first movie when he was five years old. Using his dad’s phone camera, Viet filmed a story about his own Lego toys, using the pause button to cut scenes and the sound recorder to add voiceover.
His interest in filmmaking grew over time. “Movies give me inspiration to learn more about different topics in real life. In the same way, I use my experience, observation and understanding from real life to contemplate every movie I watch,” Viet said.
Film has become a central part of his life. Viet dreams to be a film director who can create films that engross the audience, leading them through the characters’ emotional journeys so that at the end of the movie, the audience learns and feels more about the real world.
A self-described practical dreamer, Viet took advantage of every opportunity to learn and practise the basics of filmmaking – from joining the Photography Club and Drama Club in his high school, Tran Dai Nghia, to participating in semi-professional filmmaking classes.
He worked hard to improve his knowledge and gain more experience not only because “Practice makes perfect” but also because of the thrill, the joy and the satisfaction he got when living his passion.
Taking the leap at 17
In 2015, Viet participated in Toto’s Filmmaking Class hosted at RMIT Vietnam. This was when he first felt connected to the University.
“I was amazed by RMIT Vietnam’s learning and teaching facilities – especially the new technologies for design students – and by the Design lecturers who facilitated the event, and particularly by the Bachelor of Design (Digital Media) program,” Viet said.
As much as he realised the program would be where he could make his dream come true, Viet could not stop himself from worrying about finances.
After discussing with his parents, Viet decided to apply for the RMIT Vietnam scholarship program. With this planned, during grade 12, Viet committed and concentrated fully on preparing for the national university entrance exam and RMIT Vietnam’s scholarship application.
“Despite how much I love films and cannot go a day without thinking about them, I tried to stay focused on studying and spent very little time on films during that time,” Viet recalled.
“And now, with the scholarship to study design at RMIT, I will be able to live my filmmaking dream to the fullest.”
The scholarship announcement surprised Viet and brought enormous joy. As soon as he got the news, Viet texted his parents because “both of them mean the world to me, and I wanted both to hear the news at the same time.”
At the scholarship ceremony, Viet still inclined his heart and comments to his family: “Mom and dad, I know my decision to pursue filmmaking worries you. I know I am a strong-headed kid. But believe me, I took it to heart the promise that no matter where I go, no matter what I do, I will always move forward and make you proud.”
A new chapter begins
By winning the President’s Scholar award, which covers 100 per cent of tuition fees at RMIT Vietnam, Viet receives not only financial support but also recognition for his effort and potential. Above all, the scholarship is the key for him to achieve a life of passion.
“I believe I can learn a lot from RMIT Vietnam’s experienced and committed lecturers, as well as benefit from its cutting-edge facilities. I wish to take every opportunity I have at RMIT Vietnam to become a film director capable of making his dream movies,” Viet said, unable to contain his excitement.
With big dreams in mind, Viet also understands that it takes a lot of knowledge and experience to make it as a successful film director. He shared that after his Bachelor Degree at RMIT Vietnam, he is willing to learn and practise more until he can make a hit for Vietnam’s film industry.
Watch The Pranks, one of the films Viet has directed.
Story & photo: Thanh Phuong