The Amazing Race season is back in Vietnam with Créa TV – 1st Unit production support. The Amazing Race is a CBS, American reality-based television show produced by Jerry Bruckheimer and debuted in August, 2001. Presently it is in it’s twenty second season. Créa TV first line produced 2 episodes of The Amazing Race Series in 2003 and facilitated episode 5 of season 22 shot in Hanoi, November 2012 was broadcast on CBS Prime-time and AXN in March 2013 . The program, in consideration of the Vietnam episodes, were awarded an Emmy award for Best Reality Program each year ever since. The premise of the show involves 10 – 11 teams of two, who have a prior relationship be it dating, married, friends or family, travel around the world in a month competing in various challenges and picking up clues. At each leg there is pit stop. Generally the last team to arrive will be eliminated from the competition. The prize? $1,000,0000 to the winning team. 10 teams racing live across Vietnam in different directions, a cast and crew of almost 200, 12 camera teams, helicopters, and boats all make this a very challenging production. Massive amounts of preparation and coordination were needed to make the race run smoothly. It’s an exciting adventure and the type of project that Créa TV really excels at line producing. The race is a smashing success and most probably “the Greatest Show on Earth”. To view the episode highlights, see the blogs and more information, check out the website:http://www.cbs.com/shows/amazing_race/
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.
“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.
Filming Warner Horizon’s The Bachelor for ABC USA in Da Nang – Central Vietnam is yet proof of the trend that large Hollywood production can be catered for in Vietnam.
Imagine a US film crew of more than 200 executives, producers, directors, cameramen light and grip, 14 talents and 10 metric tons of equipment in and out of Vietnam for less than a week, supported by a Créa TV team of 50 souls. This must have been the largest foreign TV show ever shot in the country.
It all started on 8 October 2013 with an email from Ms René Jermal, a Los Angeles based production manager entitled “Production Facilitator Needed in Vietnam”. The email mentioned a 12 day prep and shoot but I was immediately intrigued by a sentence: “We travel with a large crew of approximately 85 people and require large transportation and local production support needs…” . I started to do some research and quickly came to the realization that this show could only be ABC’s The Bachelor…
Créa TV has a long track record of facilitating large US productions such as numerous Amazing Race episodes for CBS primetime and licensed versions across the planet, Semester at Sea for MTV, making Créa TV at the top of the list of facilitators for these international mega productions. Again, this episode of The Bachelor was supposed to be shot in another Southeast Asian country and Créa TV was competing with production houses outside of Vietnam. And Again we are proud to announce that Vietnam was be chosen as the destination for the show and Créa TV as the facilitator.
The job was delivered, on time, under budget, and with a full safety record. I would like to close this blog with excerpts from thank you notes from our clients: from Ms Jermal, Production Manager “I just wanted to say thank you so much for all of your help and support in Vietnam. Obviously we had a lot of changes and uncertainties and we appreciate your patience and support with everything. It was a tough episode, but we conquered and destroyed it together! We would love to work with your team again.”
And from Mr David Albrecht, Warner Executive the day after the show was broadcast on ABC: “Last night was our Vietnam episode, and it did VERY well — thanks for your support!”
Othello Khanh, Ho Chi Minh City, 21 March 2014
Immerse yourself in 1967 Vietnam.
This Italian TV series was shot on location in Ho chi Minh City, the Mekong Delta and the Southern Highlands. a period miniseries taking place in the late 60′s.
Fandango had been trying to work with a Thai company to shoot Oriana on location in Thailand because Fandango never thought it would be possible to shoot the film in Vietnam where the action actually took place in Saigon 1967 and at the battle of Dak To, in the Central Highlands. The challenge was incredible as we had minimal time to lock all locations and permits considering it was a period piece and we needed the support of the Vietnamese People’s Army to use explosives, an air force base and flying vintage Huey helicopter.
Irene Trinh, Créa TV’s feature films producer and her team did an amazing work leading an army of more the 150 crew, talents and extras and “made it happen” as Fandango producer – Valeria Licurgo told her just after calling the wrap on the last shot. The shoot took us back in the 60’s with antique vehicles from Cho Lon where we reconstituted the aftermath of a bomb explosion, to the legendary Continental hotel in Saigon, to the jungles and forests of Madagui where we reenacted the battle of Dak Towith cannons, machine guns, and explosives to end flying a Huey helicopter at Bien Hoa military air force base.
Créa TV is proud to have the privilege to be part of the Local Technical and Logistic team support to NBC Universal & NBC Telemundo to the 2008 Miss Universe Pageant held in Nha Trang,Vietnam last July 2008 joining the ranks of an elite worldwide team headed by The Trump Organization, The Miss Universe Organization, NBC Universal & NBC Telemundo. Créa TV with its capacity to provide high standard equipment and multi-lingual personnel fluent in VietnamEse, English, Spanish and French created a highly competent environment for this multi-cultural, big-event entertainment. Créa TV provided a month long pre-pageant coverage for “El Camino a la Corona” and the live coverage and broadcast of the finals for NBC Telemundo, the Spanish-language affiliate of NBC Universal.
National Geographic came to Vietnam on behalf of a commercial project with Sony Electronics to introduce an upcoming Sony Digital Still Camera.
Director Lam Burman from Canada, Australian producer William McQueen, and Canadian photographer Yue Yue Ronald, with 1st Unit – Créa TV production team traveled to the northern hill town of Sapa, near the border of China for a 3 day shoot. Arriving from Hanoi by the famous Victoria Express Train, the crew spent the days trekking to remote locations in the highlands, filming the new Sony Camera operating in some very rugged conditions.
Saigon Eclipse is a full length 35mm feature film shot entirely on Location in Vietnam, inspired by the historic and famous “Tales of Kieu” by Nguyen Du. Directed by Créa TV partner Othello Khanh, the film is one of Vietnam’s biggest domestic productions to date. Khanh, Créa TV and Executive Producer Doug Dales assembled a powerhouse production team and an all-star cast of local and international stars.
Please see the Saigon Eclipse Website for more information: www.saigoneclipse.com
Saigon Eclipse” takes place in present day Ho Chi Minh City. It is inspired by the characters and themes of Nguyen Du’s 19th century masterpiece “The Story of Kieu”, a work considered to be the most important epic poem written in Vietnamese. This ancient story relates the destiny of a young, beautiful and talented Vietnamese woman who sacrifices herself for her family.
This epic poem chronicles the fate of Kieu, a beautiful young girl, who soon after her secret engagement, returns home to find her father is about to be imprisoned on trumped up charges. Kieu offers herself in payment for her father’s debt without fully understanding the ramifications of the decision. A stunning and tragic story of loyalty and the perils of beauty, it was written as an allegory for Nguyen Du’s beautiful country Vietnam, which has often been possessed and abused by others.
The Phu My Bridge is the first major privately-funded project of its kind in the country. It was designed and constructed by BBBH, a consortium of Germany’s Bilfinger Berger Civil and the Australian company, Baulderstone Hornibrook. Their client was the Phu My Bridge Corporation, a private Vietnamese group with a 30-year license to operate the bridge. Drawing on their previous experience building large-scale cable-stayed bridges in Vietnam and around the world, BBBH was able to complete the project months ahead of schedule and within budget. Construction started in February 2007, and the bridge was opened to traffic in September 2009. The Phu My Bridge now stands as a new landmark in the city, one that connects Vietnam’s present to its exciting future on the world stage.
The video was produced by Créa TV, pioneer of time lapse technology in Vietnam, as introduction of director Othello Khanh’s Vietnam 2020 film project.