High Demand for the VFX and Animation Industry in Vietnam

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Colory Animation Studio has won the top prize at 2016 DigiCon6 Asia-Vietnam, earning the Golden Award for their animated short film, ‘The Adventure of Egg, Lime and Chilly.’ The triumph was formally announced at the DigiCon6 Asia awards ceremony in Tokyo, Japan on November 14th.

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The Adventure of Egg, Lime and Chilly tells the story of three food-friends who meet on the kitchen counter chopping block. When a human enters the kitchen with a cookbook and a sharp, steely knife, Lime takes charge to refuse their fate. The 3.5-minute film was designed without dialogue to avoid language barriers, instead focusing on timing, pacing and appealing to worldwide audiences through audio effects. Colory paid careful attention to every detail, including a post-credit scene giving viewers a glimpse of things to come for the trio. See the film here: https://vimeo.com/167446639

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This achievement for Ho Chi Minh City based Colory did not come quickly or easily. The film was made gradually, during a time of staggering challenges in Vietnam’s VFX/Animation industry. While the market is growing, there are obstacles and struggles for most companies such as low pay, inexperienced management and the constant need to raise funds to hire and keep talent.

An example of a recent incident that shook the industry involved Cyclo, Vietnam’s leading special effects studio until September 2016. Cyclo closed quietly after their work finished for Tam Cam, a Vietnamese fantasy movie that released with great box office success.  Cyclo did all the VFX for the movie and the industry was in shock that Cyclo had closed. Watch Cyclo’s show reel: https://vimeo.com/170919043.

Film makers, investors and artists believe in the future of the industry and are seeking ways to problem solve big issues. Vietnam’s market of 90 million people who love seeing films is a strong economic reason for the industry to press on. There is high demand for VFX in Vietnam but budgets are usually low. Many studios are in the early stages of building their core teams, which takes money, time and trust to develop. Many companies now hire freelancers on a per-project basis until they have enough steady work to hire full-time employees.

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“The best scenario is to have a strong team in place long-term to build good work together,” says Tuan Doan, CEO of Colory. ‘In other countries, VFX and animation are two different fields, but in Vietnam, the border between the two is not as clear. A company doing VFX can also make animation and vice versa, so teamwork and familiarity with each worker’s artistic ability is very important,” says Doan.

A Promising Land of Opportunity
The cinema box office market in Vietnam grew almost 25 percent in 2015. Audiences used to come only for Hollywood movies but over the past few years domestic movies are becoming more popular. The demand for high quality movies requires higher production budgets and more special effects, meaning several VFX artists and animators are assigned to one project at a time.
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The VFX and animation outsourcing markets from Hollywood are expanding to Vietnam due to lower cost and a high-quality workforce. Many US studios now have branches or outsourcing studios in Vietnam. Sparx is a Ho Chi Minh based studio which has worked on many famous movies such as Star Trek, Lucy, Pacific Rim, Avengers: Age of Ultron and more. Today there are increasing volumes of Vietnamese artist’s names in the closing film credits of blockbuster films. 

Along with the growing cinema industry, animated movies are expected to be a fresh new area for the Vietnam market. Colory is now producing their first animation film, which will be the first original animated movie in Vietnam’s history. “These are very exciting times,” says Doan.
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Watch Colory’s new animation teaser trailer here: https://vimeo.com/191278558

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