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Lost in Love
14Feb
2019

In October 2018, one of America’s biggest reality TV series, NBC’s The Bachelor, returned to Vietnam for its 23rd season, selecting the magnificent coastal beauty of Nha Trang and Cam Ranh to be its destinations of romance.

Having worked with the show in the past back in 2013, The Creatv Company understood the scope and extremity of this project.

Our preparation process was intense from scouting and securing locations, planning over-the top dates/activities, to art support, costumes, transportation, and logistics for possibly the largest TV production ever.

With each of the dates was designed to be a unique romantic adventure, from sea urchins fishing in the ocean bay, to cozy mud baths in a man-made tropical jungle, and martial arts training at a century old ancient house, we were working days and nights to make sure even the tiniest details were topnotch.

The production was so massive that on shoot days, our production transports, which was around 50 vehicles from cast and crew vans, equipment vans, to arts trucks and catering trucks stretched easily hundreds yards down the block, with each of the vehicle was accompanied by at least 2-3 bilingual PAs.

Like any other reality series, changes are always part of production, thus we were always on the lookout, especially for matters we have no control over such as the weather and able to act quickly to support any crucial changes relating to locations, talents, and transportation.

Our team was racing, literally on their feet, against the deadline and the odds, to ensure that everything falls perfectly into place, all in the name of love.

Photo courtesy of NBC Universal

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The Wolf Duo
13Dec
2018

A production partnership between The Creatv Company and A-List actor/producer Ngo Thanh Van’s Studio68 Productions. Song Lang (The Wolf Duo), marked The Creatv Company’s latest foray in Vietnamese feature filmmaking. Previous films include: Saigon Eclipse, The House in the Alley, and Gentle.A directorial debut from Leon Le, a Vietnamese American stage actor, whose artistry came from his work on Broadway. Song Lang is a period drama about a debt collector who finds unexpected friendship with a Cai Luong actor (Vietnamese traditional opera) in the late ‘70s and ‘80s. With the friendship deepening but the mutual love unconsummated, their internal conflict ultimately draws them closer to each other but further away from their everyday lives. With a very limited budget, unknown talent, and a socially sensitive topic, not to mention employing traditional opera as the theme and backdrop, we knew this movie would be challenging. But as the Vietnamese feature film market is often flooded with crude comedies and forgettable action flicks that aim merely for the box office, Song Lang’s story offered us an opportunity to make a statement.The film’s cinematography by newcomer Bob Nguyen is nothing short of exceptional down to the minute detail in every frame. Veteran Production Designer Ghia Fam lent his visual prowess to the period sets, backdrops and both demure and extravagant period costumes to help relay the story of the everyman and the dramatic-over-the-top world of Cai Luong.

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Slide on the Edge
11Dec
2018

In summer 2018, The Creatv Company was tasked with facilitating and building the sets for a campaign by Vice Scandinavia for Malibu Rum. Hosted by Nick Jonas, this was an explosive three days event taking place at a beautiful coastal city of Mui Ne, Vietnam, which we won the bid against Mexico, a heavy contender considering their coastal landscape.

Preparation was mainly focused on a series of complex infrastructure constructed entirely from scratch including an oobleck double pool and a beach arena.

But the most daunting task our team had to face was building a water slide on top of a sand dune of a desert.Standing at 100 feet altitude and a 45 degree angle, this is the largest water slide ever been built in Vietnam, and possibly the largest in the world.The challenge here was not simply building a water slide, but raising it on top of the edge of the sand dune next to the ocean. This also called for a great extent in safety measure, especially ensuring the base structure of the slide is secured and rock-solid on the constantly shifting sand.As time was at the essence, our team of nearly one hundred professionals including designers, architects, and laborers, worked tirelessly for two months in the burning sand to execute the massive project.This was another summer highlight in our book as it proves that nothing is ever impossible when you have an a team of rock-stars who not only work hard, but also work smart with every bit of knowledge, experience, and dedication they have.

For more videos of the events, follow the link below to Malibu Rums official channel:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC6W9oC-9-nEV2lnSjTQjFyQ

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It was exhilarating for The Creatv Company when the creators of the Emmy and Golden Globe winning This is Us (“TIU”) contacted The Creatv Company to line produce a two-episode story arc to be filmed in Ho Chi Minh City.

Considered a breakout series when it first premiered in 2016, This Is Us has since gained its place as one of the best modern dramas in recent memory. True to TIU’s storytelling structure, The Creatv Company was tasked with finding the best locations for TIU’s multi-timeline plot with one story line taking place during the Vietnam War while the other unfolds in Present Day Ho Chi Minh City. Photographer: Brent Lewin/Bloomberg

Having serviced several war time period projects, notably The Quiet American (2002) and Oriana (2013), we were mentally equipped when we started our scout. However, the last decade has seen rapid progress throughout Ho Chi Minh City, including heavy infrastructure projects – which made it challenging for both period locations!

But tackling challenge is nothing new for The Creatv Company, and so off we went, in search of perfection. Ultimately, we found locations untouched by progress; there were dirt roads, stone bridges, rice fields, lotus ponds, banana trees, and bamboo thatch huts. And we were able to highlight modern day Saigon with its tall glass towers, and iconic monuments of the past, despite the massive inner-city transformations.

Photographer: Brent Lewin/Bloomberg

This is Us airs on NBC in the United States and The Creatv Company is based in Ho Chi Minh City, servicing Vietnam, Cambodia, Myanmar and Laos.

 

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Axis Bank and Chrome Pictures India entrusted us to provide location and line production service for a digital effort that will be featured on their official Youtube Channel.

This project marked a second production partnership between The Creatv Company with Chrome Pictures and their creative powerhouse Amit Sharma.  Chrome’s last project was an epic location shoot at Ban Gioc Waterfalls at the Vietnam Northern border, a TVC commissioned by Lowe Mumbai.

This time, was a simple creative that involves a few talents, a boat, and a jungle.

However, it was not a simple request for location.

The clients were not just looking for any ordinary jungle. They wanted a very specific scenery that can be played off as the tigers-roamed Bengali jungle, where the production was originally slated but due to severe drought, the location had to be changed.

Even so, the story still takes place in the Bengali jungle and the mission was to scout for a location that resembles the original location the best way possible. In addition, for better logistics, the location needs to be  close to the city and our base camp.Our location and production managers delivered just that, the mysterious and beautiful Can Gio national park with dense mangrove and secluded waterways, located just outside of the city. Not only that, the location bears an uncanny resemblance to the Bengali jungle.The production itself was a race against time as the crew faced unpredictable weather and fast receding tide. But, as always, we successfully completed the project to show that with The Creatv company, Vietnam can become a versatile canvas for any desired settings.

 

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We were contacted directly by Unilever London to work on an exciting board for a digital commercial for Comfort fabric softener.

This job involved quite a lot of art direction, building a walking wardrobe that shoots a bloom of flower petals at a young lady when she was under stress through the day.

We had a lot of fun shooting the walking wardrobe on the busy streets of HCMC district 1, and received a lot of strange looks from locals and tourists.

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SUNLIGHT
22Dec
2017

 

When Sunlight came launching a new scent floor cleaner, Mullen Lowe Vietnam and Unilever selected The CreaTV Company to be their production partner.

The one day shoot involved a mop and lots of CGI petals, emanating as mum cleaned the floor.

Our star baby behaved beautifully during the whole shoot!

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HOME CREDIT
22Dec
2017

The Home Credit story is one of a boy growing up always being told “No you can’t”, then finally realising that with an easy Home Credit loan facility, “yes he can” fulfilling his dreams and turning his life around.

This great storyboard came courtesy of Mirum Agency.

We completed the shoot in two days, avoiding the heavy rain, with director Nhu Dang and his team.

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Check out Creatv Company’s Head of Production, Irene Trinh talk about our production services on Kong: Skull Island in Vietnam.

irene on vtv 4_3 irene on vtv 4_2 irene on vtv 4
VTV 4 – Culture Mosaic – 10/03/2017

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In an exclusive interview with Vietnam Tourism, the country’s premiere location managers reveal to us why Vietnam is on the fast track to becoming the next big international filming location.

When it comes to Vietnam’s dynamic duos, creative tag team Othello Khanh and Irene Trinh are high up on the roster. The production professionals have led the vanguard for Vietnam’s growing film industry for over two decades, with Khanh at the helm of The CREATV Company, Vietnam’s longest established private production service, and Trinh as Head of Production, International Service and Feature Films. To add to a list of impressive credentials including, but not limited to, Miramax Films’ The Quiet American in 2002, RAI Uno’s L’Oriana, CBS’ The Amazing Race, ABC’s The Bachelor, and Travel Channel’s Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern, CREATV was tapped for the Vietnamese development of Legendary Pictures’ Kong: Skull Island. With the release date of Kong: Skull Island less than a week away, we caught up with Trinh and Khanh to give us a scoop on their experiences on set.

What was your involvement in the making of the new film?

Trinh: CREATV Company was approached by the movie’s Executive Producer Eric McLeod to provide production services for Kong: Skull Island. Initially, in December of 2014, we were first approached by Legendary’s production coordinator about possible locations in Vietnam —and at that time, we had just completed location scouting with another big Hollywood studio and so the pictures were fresh from the latest reconnaissance. They included: Ha Long Bay, Sapa,et c., so the timing worked out well.

On Kong: Skull Island, Othello served as CREATV Executive and I served as the Vietnam Production Supervisor, working closely with Legendary Pictures’ Production Supervisor Russell Allen to prepare the logistics of filming including the final location recces, securing all filming permits, locking all locations, hiring the local Vietnamese crew to support the 200 or so American film professionals, and of course, setting up offices in Hanoi to supervise and manage the entire production from our main base.

Why was Vietnam chosen to be the film set for this blockbuster?

Trinh: I think the director, Jordan Vogt-Roberts, said it best in his recent interview with TuoiTreNews:

“Vietnam has a powerful and unspoiled beauty. Our movie does not take place in Vietnam, but instead the aesthetic of it is a huge piece of the puzzle to create the look of our story’s fictional Skull Island.

Vietnam is entirely different from any of the other countries we scouted and together we want to fuse several different looks and locations into a living, breathing place that feels, unlike anything you’ve seen before but also seems very real.”
Of the three main filming locations in Vietnam, was there a location that really spoke to the cast?

Trinh: This is from one of the interviews the Director Jordan Vogt-Roberts did: “We came to Vietnam… and were immediately stunned by the surreal beauty of the country, from the mountains to the vistas of everywhere we set foot upon. We believe movie fans in the U.S. will wonder in awe as to where these beautiful places are.” The director also revealed that the scenes to be filmed in Vietnam would be the most pivotal scenes in the film.

For the cast, I think waking up each morning, it was a new adventure, whether in Quang Binh or Ninh Binh’s spectacular Trang An or the magnificent Ha Long Bay—each place was a world wonder. Besides the locations, I think if anything, the people—happy, smiling, generous people—I think that’s what they will take away from their experience of Vietnam.

How was the production of Kong: Skull Island received in Vietnam? What kind of assistance was necessary to accomplish this large-scale endeavor?

Khanh: Vietnam’s government has surely opened its doors to the world and more specifically, filmmakers and storytellers. The Prime Minister’s Office, The Ministry of Finance, Customs and Immigration, and The Ministry of Culture through its respective ICD’s (International Cooperation Department,) along with dozens of other ministries and departments contributed significantly to Kong’s filming success in Vietnam.

On top of assisting with work permit visas and customs clearances for an entire cargo plane of filming equipment and over twenty 40-feet containers of art, machinery and other filming support equipment, Vietnam’s government showed its hand in open collaboration with the filmmakers. Immigration officers went above and beyond, helping to expedite work visas and personally greeting cast and crew when they arrived in Vietnam, escorting them through immigration to baggage claim and into their vehicles.

What do you believe sets Vietnam apart from other filming locations in the region?

Trinh: Location, location, location–we have some of the most pristine, untouched, majestic locations in the region. In addition to that, a depth of skilled talent (crews), latest equipment, etc., and most importantly the support from all of the ministries, especially the Culture and Tourism sectors.

What are the prospects for Vietnam as an international filming location?

Trinh: In the last two decades, Vietnam has emerged as one of the most exciting countries for investment, with two of its major cities being listed in the top 10 dynamic cities in the world according to the World Economic Forum.

Khanh: As someone who’s spent twenty years helping to build Vietnam’s film industry infrastructure, and contributing to its growth both in terms of domestic volume and depth of experience through the key creatives and crews who have grown with us, we can definitely affirm that Vietnam offers breathtaking range. Surreal landscapes and vistas, majestic mountains, rough, rugged terrain—Vietnam’s host of world wonders make it the perfect backlot. It is also important to mention that after the release of Kong: Skull Island, we hope that the industry will understand that Vietnam is the location to not only shoot Vietnam-themed movies but any film looking for unique locations, skilled crews, affordable production costs and friendly government support. We are proud to call Vietnam home and offer her majestic beauty to the world’s big and small screen.

Are there any upcoming films that are set to be shot in Vietnam?

Trinh: There are several war-era films that are eyeing Vietnam at the moment, in addition to films from Canada, the Netherlands, and even Thailand! Imagine that, Thailand coming to shoot in Vietnam! That goes to show exactly how beautiful this country is from coast to coast to coast.

Besides the well-liked Halong Bay and the newly discovered Phong Nha caves, are there other locations with cinematic potential of note here in Vietnam?

Trinh: Clearly, Ninh Binh’s Trang An and Tam Coc are spectacular and as a result were chosen as the main location for Kong: Skull Island. In addition to them, Ho Chi Minh City (“Saigon”) and the Mekong Delta, Dalat (“French era”), Danang/Hoi An (old port, heritage town), Sapa, Ban Gioc, Thai Nguyen, Dien Bien, Ba Vi…Phu Quoc, Con Dao…and let’s not forget Hanoi, Hue—the current and imperial capitals respectively… pretty much all of Vietnam! At every turn, on every corner, there is something that speaks of the old and new worlds, and the seamless combination of the two and as you venture away from the cities, you can’t help but take in Vietnam’s natural beauty. In fact, Vietnam boasts five Cultural Heritage sites: The Imperial Citadel of Thang Long (Hanoi), The Citadel of the Ho Dynasty, The Complex of Hue Monuments, Hoi An Ancient Town and My Son Sanctuary; two Natural Wonders: Ha Long Bay and Phong Nha Ke Bang National Park, and one mixed wonder (Cultural and Natural): Trang An Landscape Complex.

Lastly, what are some of your favorite films about Vietnam?

Khanh: “The Lover” (by Jean-Jacque Annaud, 1992), “Indochine” (by Regis Wargnier, 1992), “Ao Lua Ha Dong” (by Luu Huynh, 2006) and “Three Seasons” (by Tony Bui,) to name a few.

Thank you Irene and Othello for chatting with us!

For a quick look at their portfolio, watch the video below:

CREATV 2016 RECAP from The CREATV Company on Vimeo.

BY IZZY PULIDO
A Bostonian by way of the Philippines, Izzy Pulido is an avid collector of first-time experiences. She is the host of Street Feast Vietnam, a food-centric web series and regularly contributes to the creative consortium Vietcetera. Find her musings on wayfaring over at thenextsomewhere.com.

http://vietnamtourism.vn/things-to-do/filming-scouts-othello-khanh-and-irene-trinh-talk-kong

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