Recently, I was able talk to someone I find very admirable, Thien A. Pham. He’s doing what I have always dreamed of: producing. I was fortunate enough to be able to get an interview with him.
Chị Kayla: I don’t meet many people often that are invested in the Vietnamese media. My first question to you is: why are you into film?
Thien A. Pham:My family lived in a small town in Vietnam and there wasn’t a lot of entertainment around except going to the cinema. My parents liked going to the movies and my mom tells me they watched a lot of films when she was pregnant with me. Even into my early childhood, they’d take me to the movies where I’d get rocked to sleep. So maybe that’s why I love films so much since it was such a big part of my life early on.
CK:Wow that’s really awesome! Can we look forward to seeing more Vietnamese films in the near future? What is your vision or hope for Vietnamese media?
T.A.P:We definitely hope to bring more Vietnamese films to the audience here. Of course, that really depends on the amount of support from the community. If it was up to us, we would have a Vietnamese film in theaters every month. But as you may know, there are many obstacles when releasing a Vietnamese film in the US. The Vietnamese audience here is not yet used to watching Vietnamese films in theaters. It’s not an entertainment lifestyle yet compared to watching concerts. Also, the younger generation may not be attracted to watching Vietnamese films because they may feel they won’t understand it or they can’t relate to it. In addition, the theaters have a lot of films to choose from, so in order for them to continue selecting Vietnamese films to show in theaters, there has to be a good audience turnout, or else it doesn’t make sense for them. We believe in order for our community to grow stronger, our entertainment and media industry needs to grow stronger. The Catch 22 is in order for our media to grow stronger, the community needs to support it. Some people ask why we don’t see more Vietnamese films in theaters. I think the question should be, how do we get people to come and watch Vietnamese films? If a large number of people come out to watch Vietnamese films, I’m certain we’ll be able to release more Vietnamese films. One of the feedback we received is that Vietnamese films released in the US are old films, which had been released in Vietnam months, sometimes years ago. That’s been true so far and that is what we’re aiming to change. We’re in discussion with studios to do same day theatrical releases in both Vietnam and US. Hopefully we will start seeing that happening in 2018.
CK: Any encouraging words to the Vietnamese creators that are out there trying to also make it in the entertainment industry? Also are you looking for more to join your team?
T.A.P:What I would say to Vietnamese content creators is to keep on creating. The distribution platforms and technology can and will change, but content and the need for content will not go away. More importantly, the more content creators we have, it will show our community there is a viable career for content creators. We’re not all meant to be lawyers, doctors, or engineers. When I first started, I wasn’t sure this was the right path for me and my parents definitely didn’t think so. There is so much instability in this industry. But the instability, or the unknown, shouldn’t be a reason for us to stop creating. It should fuel us even more because it means every day brings new possibilities. One of the reasons we have been able to keep at this competitive business for many years is because we keep very nimble and always look for good collaborators to be part of the team depending on which project we work on. There is so much amazing talent out there and we’re definitely open to working with new creative people.
CK: Thank you so much for this interview I really appreciate it!
Growing up we all probably knew the three biggest companies that made up the Vietnamese showbiz industry. That was: Thúy Nga Entertainment (Paris By Night), Asia Entertainment, and Vân Sơn Entertainment. If you are a K-Pop star, you would also know of what they call the Big 3: SM Entertainment, YG Entertainment, and JYP Entertainment. Even though I know that these industries are COMPLETELY different, there are some characteristics that make them similar. Let me explain.
Thúy Nga Entertainment AKA Paris By Night = SM Entertainment
The first reason why I would say that Paris By Night is the SM equivalent is because they are the strongest in terms of money and fame within the Vietnamese Community. The main purpose of PBN is to showcase singers to entertain the audience. They have the most famous and legendary singers. They have produced top names like Khánh Ly, Lynda Trang Đài, Nguyễn Hưng, Don Hồ, and a ton more. A singer has a song, they sing and perform it, that’s it, everyone loves it. The singers are very talented definitely do an amazing job performing it, however, it’s rare for me to see artists coming on stage and performing something completely original. Not that there is anything wrong with that, but PBN is definitely all about the glamour and stardom.
Asia Entertainment = YG Entertainment
Asia is definitely more on the political side. Asia artists are encouraged to produce their own music, artists such as Trúc Hồ, Sỹ Đan, Shayla, Trish, and Cardin. Likewise, we see various YG artists writing and composing their own music as well: GD, Teddy, and CL. As for YG, we all know they have a hip hop direction, which is why I say Asia is more like YG in the way that they have a focus, they make sure their opinion is heard, they’re not afraid to voice what they think. Looks are not as important to the production as much as talent. What’s most important is that the community is educated about the world around them through the eyes of TT Asia.
Vân Sơn Entertainment = JYP Entertainment
Vân Sơn is an actual man just like JYP. He is the only man that named his company after him and actually performs in his shows. Just like JYP. Now I think these two companies are similar because when it comes to the artists and their career, they have the most freedom to do whatever they want. Also because VS and JYP are actual people you can really grow to love their character as oppose to just imagining an impersonal CEO that works behind the scenes.
What do you think? Let me know in the comments below!
The Vietnamese Entertainment Programs (PBN, Asia, Van Son <–VN’s The Big Three) would often pair two people together for duets or collaborations. Some stuck with us in our hearts and even made us want them to be a real couple (some on the list actually DID become a couple). Most of these artists and singers now have their own families, but that doesn’t stop us from reminiscing and cherishing the memories they’ve gave us in our lives.
8. Như Quỳnh & Thế Sơn
I remember watching this video back in the day. LOVED this song. Not only that, the chemistry they had during this performance was really awesome. Look at Như Quỳnh’s pouty so CUTE! Definitely makes my heart melt.
7. Nguyễn Hưng & Lưu Bích
Was it just me? Or was Nguyễn Hưng the only man Lưu Bích was comfortable with? They seem to really enjoy themselves during this performance so naturally and comfortably. There was even one time during a PBN behind the scenes segment when Nguyễn Hưng goes behind Lưu Bích and gives her a back hug and says, “I love Lưu Bích!” AHHH MY HEART!!
Looking at the interviews and MVs, I feel like Minh Tuyết definitely probably had a thing for Huy Vũ. Or at least she really appreciated him. Always enjoy their performances together. This one especially. Apparently on the set it was really hot and originally Minh Tuyết was suppose to be the frozen one, but Huy Vũ, being a gentleman he is takes the place of her and becomes the aluminum man. It was so hot Huy Vũ almost fainted! All the performances I’ve seen them together, they always bring a song to life with their voices and their acting. So da awesome.
5. Minh Trí & Việt Thi
These two always performed together. Super cute and super awesome, and THEY CAN FIGHT, well do martial arts. Minh Trí & Việt Thi were everyone’s one true pair. Actually, they were an real married couple. Apparently VT was performing martial arts at a festival. MT noticed her and pursued her and ended up married her! You listen to their songs now and you’re like wow, I actually jammed to this back in the day, but what’s worse is that you find out it was a song from anther artist (such as Best Friend and Oriental Cowgirl). Unfortunately, because of some…how should I say this, stupidity (mainly on his end), they’ve split. I was DEVASTATED and angry when I found out. Regardless these two remain iconic and we will always remember them as one.
4. Phi Nhung & Mạnh Quỳnh
Phi Nhung definitely had a thing for Mạnh Quỳnh, yo. It was an ongoing joke at PBN. They even released a collaboration DVD together back in the day. They were the power duo when it came to vọng cổ. Not only that, how can we forget the English vọng cổ? Check this clip out. I don’t know why people call me “thánh dịch,” but Mạnh Quỳnh is definitely OG.
I didn’t think of this but my sister low-key wanted these two to be together. I actually thought they were a couple before I knew how to speak. I always thought NCKD had a crush on NNN lol. Scripted? Not sure but it made me laugh and smile. I really liked how PBN sometimes had a storyline throughout the show and kept it interesting. Thanks PBN for your creativity!
2. Cardin & Trish
Did I mention that these two were my idols growing up???! Cardin inspired me to dance and Trish inspired me to sing. Both of them inspired me to write songs. I feel like without them, you wouldn’t have who I am today. Anywho, my first song that I’ve seen with them was “The Chase,” an originally composition by the both of them. DON’T YOU FEEL THE SPARKSS??? Seriously, this is such a cute song and so perfectly done I, I, I can’t. a;hFIAhajdbfaj… Okay calm. This lead me to go super fan mode and stalk their entire past. Cardin was part of Asia 4 and they did another collaboration on Trish’s DVD “The Best of Trish” called “I Never Thought.” That was also another amazing video. Obviously, they both grew up and had families of their own. I’m happy for the both of them, but I also forever treasure the awesome music that they gifted to us.
1. Lynda Trang Dai Tommy Ngo
My first OTP. I followed them from Tommy Ngo’s Debut with Grease Medley. They are still married. Of course there are struggles, but they work through them. Tommy shares that he still feels so lucky to be chosen by LTD *PAUSE* AWWWWWWWWWWWW So sweet! Right now they own a sandwich shop called Lynda Sandwich. I just love the clip below how there are so many women, but Tommy only chooses to look at Lynda. That’s love, when you love a women because that’s the only woman you choose to look at.