20 YEARS LATER
In 2015, the CREATV Company celebrated 20 years of activity in Vietnam. Being a true pioneer of the film and television industry, we continue to set the standard and have trained a generation of successful filmmakers. We would like to thank our clients and partners over those 20 years and look forward to the exciting times in the decades to come.
Looking back at last year’s business and to write a review about it took me back 20 years, to 1995 when I first set foot in Vietnam. Vietnam had just opened it’s doors to the market economy and the country was reaching out to it’s overseas children to comeback and participate in the reconstruction of the nation. My father was one of it’s son’s who was called back because of his prestigious aura as inventor and designer. I had just completed a feature length documentary about the uprising of Zapatista rebels in Mexico and was promoting it in L.A, when my Dad sent me a visa invitation right on the day the embargo was lifted. I landed at Tan Son Nhat in 1995 during a Solar Eclipse, this place was still a secret jewel. Vietnam was turning a page, the future was a blank chapter, we had a dream and we started to write the book. We would make our own films in Vietnam, as well as bringing the largest international productions to shoot here.
In those years, there were no private production companies, we could only work with state owned studios with whom we had a technology transfer contract. The first multi-national companies had just set up business with all major advertising agencies following them; we were settling in and were in high demand of local production to introduce their products. The new struggle was to make international standard productions available in Vietnam. Imagine that just years before, the concept of brands had not existed and no one had been exposed to television commercials. Products had no names; they were called soap, shampoo, meat or engine. They were just shown on television when the state couldn’t sell them, so naturally, people had the impression that if products were on television, it was because they were bad. So we had to convince them that TVCs were about good products.
These infancy years were marked by the first Asian financial crisis and the millennium. The ‘98 crisis was a reality check but Vietnam was granted Most Favoured Nation status the following year. Then private production companies were given licenses to offer their services and Creatv was one of the first of those. Soon we had the Internet. The Y2K bug never came. Then we all had mobile phones. By then, the GDP growth was keeping steady and we thought it would never end. These were the years of the electrification of the nation, processing zones were blooming like mushrooms after the rain and the first supermarkets opened their doors to millions of curious new customers. This really boosted our industry and the Vietnam creative circle was born.
From 2005, business continued to grow. People were allowed to borrow money, buy and sell land, fortunes were made and then Vietnam entered the World Trade Organization and the concert of the global market. Private Production companies were given more opportunities and were now allowed to produce feature films and television programs. Can you imagine 10 years ago there were less than 30 cinema screens in the the whole country and cable TV was only available in hotels for foreigners. During those years, we still shot on film and had to process the footage overseas. We used 1.4 megabyte diskettes and post production had to be done abroad.
My vision was to make it happen in Vietnam, so very early on, we were the first to develop creative ways to achieve the film-look with digital cameras and started to develop our own post-production department. It has to be noted that most of the TV stations would only accept our commercials on VHS PAL then… We started to be very busy and needed more and more staff to deliver to our clients, so we trained a generation of producers to our international standards. In these years of innocence we discovered many talents who are now on Vietnam’s A-list. A long list of technicians, cameramen, directors, actors and many actresses who were given their first chance with us and who all remember the CREATV film school where they all started.
The industry continued to grow, when the government allowed private TV stations, so just as the theater screens that now almost reach 200, cable TV stations filled our screens with more choices. Then Vietnam was not a secret anymore and new generations of overseas Vietnamese came back to find new opportunities they couldn’t find in their adoptive country. And Vietnamese kids went to study overseas, creating a new pool of local talent.
More recently the dramatic digital age arrived, sending film cameras to the museums and democratizing video making to the world population. And with that, most of the staff we trained had grown their wings and flew the nest; they opened shop and it was now their turn. In the last few years, new production houses have been popping up regularly, increasing the competition to an intense level. Meanwhile we have grown bigger and are able to turn this competition into clients who now regularly rent our filming studios.
20 incredible years have passed and we continue to set the standard. There was always another pillar to our development: the international services. Although, it is today more and more difficult to land a small job from a local client, the largest American and European networks and film studios regularly come to The CREATV Company to produce their shows in Vietnam. Our vision is on track, Vietnam is now a place where films can be made. We have come of age. It is now time to fulfill what we came here to achieve. Stay tuned…
2015 in review: Local productions
Crafting high-end TV commercials in Vietnam for demanding clients and agencies, requires experience, dedication and the upmost commitment to excellence. Shoot and post in Vietnam. The CREATV Company. Dedicated to excellence in everything thing we do.
2015 was another year of continuing changes in media production. Clients and Agencies created hundreds of new spots for the internet. Not all Digital campaigns become Viral, but CREATV’s productions attracted close to 10 Million views.
This year, aerial cinematography became a “must-have” requirement for visually stunning productions. The CREATV Company flew drones all across the country: from the North, Center and Southern regions – incorporating some of the most difficult, challenging and thoroughly spectacular locations.
Our film studios were in high demand from other commercial houses in town. CREATV’s dedication to discrete and confidential support services ensured around the clock assistance to meet any challenge presented. Production friends & associates are always welcome at CREATV Studios!