SUMMER SCHOOL 2001
European film about Vietnamese through the eyes of a Vietnamese
Through three stories connected by a dramatic one-night event, we look into the environment of the Vietnamese community in the Czech-German border region. We follow the story of exclusion from the community and the search to find a way to each other.
Why should the film be made?
The Vietnamese are the third largest minority living in the Czech Republic. They have been part of Czech society for more than 65 years. But are the Vietnamese a community that lives with us or among us? How do the media describe the Vietnamese and what is their reflection in Czech culture? And why are the Vietnamese characters in stories related to the Vietnamese minority mostly reduced to drug mafiosi, stoned stallholders or lisp-ridden nail salon workers?
The Vietnamese are part of our everyday lives. We shop in Vietnamese curfews, visit Vietnamese bistros and salons. Their services are available to us almost around the clock. Have we ever wondered what their lives are like when the doors of a restaurant or a diner close? And more importantly – what was their life like before they opened their curfews, salons and bistros?
Giving this community a space and a voice in a cultural setting, and portraying them in a way that is different from the stereotypical, is extremely important for future generations, not only Vietnamese but also Czech.
Prose, civilly told authentic stories from the lives of Czech Vietnamese are completely missing from the Czech cultural scene. This is what we would like to change with the film Summer School 2001. Our aim is to bring a view of life within the community through the eyes of a community member.
The story of the film takes place at the beginning of the millennium. It is a time when the marketplaces in the Czech borderlands are experiencing their golden age. After several years, a seventeen-year-old son moves to Bohemia to visit his parents. His arrival causes a stir in the local Vietnamese community.
Through three stories linked by a dramatic one-night event, we get a glimpse into the environment of Vietnamese market traders in the Czech-German border region. We follow the story of exclusion from the community and the search for a way to each other. Three generations. Three perspectives. Three stories.
A similar story was lived at the turn of the millennium by the film's writer and director, Duzan Duong, who was born in 1991 in Hanoi, but grew up in the Czech Republic from the age of four.
The topics that the film opens up are universal. We tell a story about a family, about exclusion from friends and community, about solidarity, tolerance, prejudice, self-acceptance and identity. As a result, our film can appeal to a broader spectrum of female viewers audience.
We see our primary target audience as "young adults" 16-25 and adult viewers 26-60. In addition to the age groups themselves, it is important for us to define the audience by their relationship to Vietnamese people and interest in Vietnamese culture.
At the same time, we also target within the Vietnamese community. We want the film to be able to open up topics among the Czech Vietnamese, that are not yet openly discussed in families – queer, gender, family, entitlement, prejudice.
Director, cinematographer and screenwriter Duzan Duong has been exploring the dilemmas of second-generation Vietnamese who often grow up in the Czech Republic with a sense of alienation from their roots, language, culture and often even family since 2014. His short film Mat Goc was screened in the competition section Czech Joy at the IDFF Jihlava 2014. Three years later, Duzan Duong develops a similar theme, this time with the purely fictional short film Bo Hai, in which he directs his family members together with (non-)actors.
Nutprodukce is one of the leading production companies on the Czech audiovisual market. Its position is based on its rich experience in the production of documentaries, animated and live-action films, television series and artistically distinct art films. Films and series produced by Nutproduction have won awards at prestigious international festivals such as Berlinale, Locarno, Karlovy Vary or Cannes, and have won a total of 15 Czech Lions and 7 Czech Film Critics' Awards. The Burning Bush was selected as the Czech Republic's nominee for the Oscar and Golden Globe Awards in 2013. Currently, Nutproduction has released the festival-successful feature film The Sacrifice and is preparing the premiere of several other feature and animated projects.
The project received support from the State Cinematography Fund in the amount of 370k EUR. However, we are still missing a third of the budget. That is why we are looking for partners who will join us and help us realize the project.
The film is set at the beginning of the millennium. Therefore, one of the most important and expensive items is the visual component of the film, which can make the film authentic and believable. This entails the high cost of the locations, which have to be stylistically in line with the turn of the nineties. Some of the locations have to be extensively reworked for the filming.
We would like to create a film that faithfully reflects life in the Vietnamese community and draws the viewer into the story by its naturalness.
If you decide to support our project, we will be happy to provide you with more detailed information and are open to dialogue.
Mrs. Valeria Borkovcová
director: Dužan Duong
screenplay: Dužan Duong, Jan Smutný
director of cinematography: Adam Mach
producers: Lukáš Kokeš, Tomáš Hrubý
co-producer: Jakub Viktorín
production team: Kristýna Milaberská, Valeria Borkovcová
length: 100 minutes
genre: drama, auto-fiction