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The Amazing Race Asia is a reality television game show based on the American series, The Amazing Race. The fifth installment of the show returned after a 6-year hiatus.

The season premiered on 13 October 2016 and promised to be the most adrenaline-fueled season ever.[1] Eleven teams chosen from across the region competed in a high-octane dash around the world for a chance at the winning crown and USD$100,000 in cash.[2]

Allan Wu[3] is back to host his fifth season of The Amazing Race Asia and 11th season of The Amazing Race franchise overall.

Leg 5 (Thailand → Vietnam)

Teams ended this leg of the race at the Quách Thị Trang roundabout overlooking the famous landmark of Ho Chi Minh CityChợ Bến Thành.

Airdate: 10 November 2016

During the Pit Stop, all teams were moved to Nai Yang Beach Resort to begin this leg of the race. The Fast Forward which told the teams to go to Khu du lịch Bình Quới 1 in Bình Thạnh District and eat rice inside some clay pots in an attempt to find a Vietnamese gold coin in one of the rice. For every clay pot they selected, they must break the clay pot. Once they had found the gold coin, they would receive the Fast Forward clue.

The Detour was a choice between Badminton Bash and Flower Power. In Badminton Bash, teams must travel to Công Viên Tao Đàn Park, where they would have to play badminton. If they could score 10 points before their opponent scored 21 points, they would receive their next clue. In Flower Power, teams headed to Hồ Thị Kỷ Flower Market. Then, they must carry two empty baskets and find some flower stalls inside the flower market to gather some flowers. After they gathered all the flowers, they had to deliver the flowers to the flower retailer, H2 Flower Shop to receive their next clue.

The Roadblock required one team member to eat five courses of Vietnamese exotic delicacies; which were rats, bats, centipedes, scorpions and lizards. Once they had completely eaten all the foods, they would receive their next clue.

Additional tasks
  • At Hồ Câu Tôm Giải Trí Thanh Đa, teams had to catch 4 prawns from the prawns’ pool inside the restaurant to receive their next clue.
  • Upon arriving at Đường Nguyễn Văn Cừ, teams must search for Mr. Ngọc at the Photocopy Ngọc Yến, where he would photocopy and stamp their next clue.

Airdate: 17 November 2016

Source: Wikipedia

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Vietnam recently stepped up to the occasion serving as a location on the Legendary Pictures “Kong:  Skull Island.” Speaking to Thanh Nien News (Vietnam’s largest news agency), Director Jordan Voght-Roberts said “[he] chose Vietnam as a filming location as he wanted to offer audiences something new and different, adding that the scenes in Vietnam are among the important ones and would be as stunning as scenes in The Lord of the Rings.”   Ninh Binh Marsh here-s-our-first-behind-the-scenes-look-at-kong-skull-island-929258

And prior to that, Studios such as Warner’s and Paramount extensively surveyed the country for their upcoming productions.  Vietnam is certainly a different place.  Much different from the Hollywood backroom stories told about a certain English Secret Agent filming in Vietnam’s legendary Ha Long Bay, a World Heritage Site almost twenty years before. vlcsnap-error404

America and the World’s impression of Vietnam has changed significantly since the last of the Huey’s took off from the roof of the burning US Embassy building on that fateful April 30, 1975 day.  And while films like The Quiet American was entirely shot throughout Vietnam, long gone are the days where Vietnam would only serve as the backdrop of war.  Though of course, it can and still serves as such, for example in the 2013 war era made for television movie Oriana for RAI Uno. vlcsnap-error674

We, at The Creatv Company, have been privileged to have service-produced both Kong:  Skull Island and The Quiet American.  We also service-produced Oriana, and in addition to those, we’ve been blessed with regular visits from The Amazing Race (and its various franchised versions) along with ABC’s The Bachelor and Warner International’s The World’s Most Dangerous Roads or Travel Channel’s Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern just to name a few.


Image via Warner Brothers
Image via Warner Brothers

It may sound like we are bragging here, as we’re definitely name dropping just a little, but the reality is this, Vietnam has plenty to offer, to both the large and small scale production.  So while we may not have tax incentives (please remember, we are still a developing country!), we do have breathtaking landscapes and vistas, majestic mountains and rough, rugged terrain, but also world wonders’ that make us the perfect backlot.  What we lack in tax rebates and incentives, we make up for in low labour costs! vlcsnap-error023 Add to that, and as proven on Kong:  Skull Island, Vietnam’s government has surely opened it’s 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.  With assistance with work permit visas and customs clearances for an entire cargo plane of filming equipment and over 20 40’ containers of art, machinery and other filming support equipment, Vietnam’s government showed its hand in open collaboration with the filmmakers.  Immigration officers assisted the people charter, helping to expedite work visas, and even greeting them as they arrived on the ground from Immigration through to baggage claim and into their vehicles, ready to hit the road for what promised to be stunning scenes not yet experienced on the big screen.


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.  We’ve serviced productions under 10K and we’ve serviced productions 200M and everything in between, we are proud to call Vietnam home and offer her majestic beauty to the world’s big and small screen. vlcsnap-error450

Images courtesy of Legendary Pictures and Warner Brothers

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Executive producer John Brunton had one question when thinking about bringing The Amazing Race Canada to Vietnam: could this faraway land of jungles and rivers provide enough technical support for his large crew and contestants?

Yes, was the final answer, but there was a road block or two along the way. Viewers can see for themselves starting with Tuesday’s episode of the show on CTV at 8 p.m. The nine remaining two-person teams race from Calgary to Vancouver then across the international dateline to Hong Kong and finally Vietnam. The first stop there are the vital commercial waterways of the Mekong Delta.

As always, the location was scouted in advance. Brunton’s fears that individuals might falter in the tropical heat were well founded. Temperatures soared close to 40 C during the race in May. Two crew members and two team members needed medical attention.

Brunton insisted the local authorities provide enough electrolytes at each location to keep everybody properly hydrated. “And we got electric lights!” he says, roaring with laughter.

Language problems aside, Brunton says it was important to bring the race somewhere that was “dramatically different” for Season 4. Last season saw teams visit Argentina and Chile as well as India.

The challenge, however, is that in a world that is becoming increasingly dangerous, safe exotic locales are in short supply. Viewers who lived through nightly Vietnam War TV reports in the 1960s and ’70s will now see it as a safe, conflict-free destination, whereas terrorist targets such as London and Paris seem risky.

Brunton checked with the producer of the American version of The Amazing Race, Bertram van Munster, who gave the destination a big thumbs-up. “Then there’s the other factor: what’s affordable? What are the labour costs?”

He found a local contact “of very high integrity, not always the easiest thing to find,” says Brunton, who has dealt with authorities all over the world.

“You have a culture in Chile where the law is very strict,” he says. “If you ever tried to bribe anybody, you could go to jail.” With other jurisdictions, says Brunton, it’s hard to get anything done “without a big roll of dough in your pocket.

“We knew from the outset that this was a pretty reasonably honest place to do business.”

Still, it is communist country with a conservative regime in place. But the red tape was worth it, says Brunton, who saw an opportunity, in the wake of Canada’s generous Syrian refugee efforts to reflect upon a “boat people” story from decades earlier “that is so central to who we are now.”

Jon Montgomery was already well-versed on the virtues of Vietnam. “It’s my parents’ favourite place to visit,” says the 37-year-old host.

Montgomery spoke from a thatched-roof river resort overlooking the swift-flowing delta. Teams will have to board one of the many water taxis docked out front and explain they want to go to the floating market. You can buy everything from live eels to caged rats at the market, the latter fit for frying, according to the locals. Tuesday’s episode will also feature duck herding in the blazing Vietnam sun as well as frog harvesting. A drum dance at a temple is also on the agenda.

Vietnam packs its own culture shocks as teams travel two hours by bus north to Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon) for the following week’s episode. Players crammed into buses and sat next to commuters carrying baskets full of fish. “One of the weird things you wouldn’t see back home,” said one team member afterwards.

Once you arrive at Ho Chi Minh City, you can buy “banh mi” — Vietnam baguette sandwiches — for 33,000 dong or a little less than a toonie. Simple, concrete vending stalls stand alongside highrise, North American-style office towers and hotels, with McDonald’s and KFC locations almost as numerous as the swarms of scooters that dart around pedestrians like schools of fish.

Week four will also bring a stop at a local street vendor with an unusual menu: larvae, crickets, centipedes, two live coconut worms and a bat.

That was hard to swallow for at least one team member.

“Their legs kept getting stuck to my teeth,” she said afterwards. “I threw up in my mouth and had to go through it all over again!”

Bill Brioux is a freelance TV columnist based in Brampton, Ont. While in Vietnam, Brioux was a guest of the CTV network.

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The CREATV Company facilitated 3 episodes of The Amazing Race Israel Season 5.

The 11 Hanoi locations were scouted and prepped months before the Israeli crew arrived. It was an amazing-crazy day as the 3 seventy minute episodes were all shot in just a 24-hour day!

An intense production as per the Wikipedia page:


Leg 10 (South Korea → Vietnam)

The view of Turtle Tower around HoànKiếm Lake in Hanoi was the Detour for this leg of the Race.

Airdate: 30 August, 4 & 6 September 2016

At the Hanoi Opera House, teams had to stand on the roof and watch the busy roundabout below, on the look-out for seven numbers found on marked vehicles and people. Once they have all seven numbers, they had to head to a nearby motorcycle parking lot and find one of a few license plates matching all seven numbers to receive their next clue. This was also where they had to vote the team that would be U-Turned.

At Hoàn Kiếm Lake, teams faced this leg’s detour, where they chose between Slow & Fast. In Slow, teams had to perform thirty minutes of Tai Chi to receive their next clue. In Fast, teams had to perform Cardio Aerobics to receive their next clue. Once they completed their respective detours, they were directed to the U-Turn board at Trúc Bạch Lake.

At Trúc Bạch Lake Marina, teams had to ride in a swan boat, where they took a mandatory break from the Race.

At Tu Lien School, teams faced the Double-Battle for this leg. In this challenge, one team member must perch themselves on a thin pole while maintaining balance and trying to knock their opponent off the log in order to score a point. The first team to score two points receives their next clue, while the loser waits for the next team to battle.

At the Temple of Literature, Teams would pick up a pair of shoulder harnesses with baskets and fill them with rice. They would then carry the rice along a marked path around the temple until they reached a set of scales, where they would weigh their rice. Once teams reached a total of 284kg of rice – the amount that an average Vietnamese family consumes in a year, they received their next clue.

At Lenin Park, teams would find a series of blocks on the ground. One team member would stand on the starting block, while their partner would retrieve bamboo ladders of varying lengths from a large pile. They could only lay down ladders if they fit perfectly between a pair of blocks. Teams needed to find a way to use their limited amount of ladders to cross all of the blocks to reach their next clue.

At Nghia Mai, teams had to find a marked coal shop, where teams would use local tools to make 30 round coal bricks, a traditional Vietnamese fuel source, using wet coal. They would then have to use tongs to pick up four bricks, two per team member, and carry them through the neighbourhood without damaging them or putting them down. Once they delivered them to a marked vendor, she would use them to power her stoves and give the teams the next clue.

At Thu Le Park Zoo, teams would have to learn how to perform a traditional Chinese lion dance. During the dance, teams would need to jump across a series of platforms while wearing the lion costume, taking care not to fall off. If successful, teams would receive their next clue taking them to Hung Lien Bun Cha Restaurant

At Hung Lien Bun Cha Restaurant, teams would have to eat the entire contents of the foul-smelling durian, freshly picked off the tree. Once they finish their meal, teams would receive their next clue.

At the Vietnam Museum of Ethnology, teams had to enter a specific building, where they would find 1500 Vietnamese ‘non’ hats. One team member had to look through the hats for one with a tiny race flag on the underside. For every hat they picked up, they would have to place it on the head of their partner, continuing to stack them up higher and higher. If the hats fell off of their head at any point, the team would have to serve a 10-minute penalty before continuing. Once teams found the hat with the tiny race flag, they could exchange it for their next clue, directing them to the Pit Stop at the Imperial Citadel of Thăng Long.

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Agents James and Jamie get acquainted with the new SYM Shark Mini. Gadget Master Mr. S presents our Agents with their new ride and how it will help them with their everyday missions.

Client: SYM

Agency: MullenLowe

Director: Mat Legaria

Production and Post: The Creatv Company

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A Compilation of our best Aerial cinematography work in 2015

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Client: PNJ
Agency: Mirium
Director: Regan Hall
Production & Post: The CREATV Company

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Does your script require exotic locations, breathtaking sceneries, unexploited world marvels? Are you tired of shooting in Thailand, Spain or South Africa? Or does your story simply take place in Vietnam but never thought you could shoot here?
Think Vietnam.
Think CREATV Company, your production partner in S.E. Asia.

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In March, the CREATV Company line produced a TVC in a magical location way up north of Vietnam, at the actual border with China. 20150322_081403 copy You don’t get to the Ban Gioc Waterfalls by chance. You need to deserve them. And the 10 hour ride from Hanoi is the price your body pays to be allowed to discover this astounding location. Listen to my advice, don’t take the Lang Son path as the punishment will be horrific. This road remembered by the French as Route Coloniale 4, the RC4 became the grave of thousands of men in 1950, four years before the debacle of Dien Bien Phu. I recommend you take the Highway through Thai Nguyen province then up the steep winding road all the way North, pass Cao Bang city until the car cannot go further. Across the Quay Son river, you hit China. BAN GIOC china The  Ban Gioc Waterfalls are actually a set of two falls. On the first one – to the left when you arrive onsite, water drops 30 meters from wild vegetation, while the second falls…20150322_105318 which are shared with China are much wider and water drops the height difference in stages. On our scout and shoot, the power outflow was not at it’s maximum as March is still in the dry season. Come June and you can see all the might of that real world marvel. 20150322_111406 copy If you enjoy rock climbing, you will be able to reach the first level of the water system and enjoy the panorama overlooking the site and our northern bordering neighbours. 20150322_155406 copy The shoot was mainly marine and involved a fleet of barges as it needed to accommodate a multi-camera shoot of and Epic and a Phantom for all the High speed shots … 20150326_152208 a Jimmy Jib that came by truck from Ho Chi Minh City, a close to 2000 km / 5 days road trip… 20150326_153937 and 15 production crew and agency clients from Mumbai … 20150326_152752 including their lovely and nonetheless very courageous model. 20150326_152605 The result shows, it was well worth the trip!


Othello Khanh

Saigon, April 2015