Tuesday, March 11, 2014

So, Vientianale, you did it again?

When I watched the winning movies from the 1st Vientianale, I was surprised that one of them use music that was for sure not self-made. It was actually from one of the biggest film score companies, and it was used without permission. That can happen, Laos isn't the frontrunner of copyright and intellectual property. So I quietly informed the organisers that there is an issue. What I got in response was not what I was expected. They blamed me as the messenger of bad news, asked me basically to shut up and kind of accused me to do harm to such a wonderful project. Yes, the Vientianale is a wonderful project, so wonderful that I participated in 2013, and even won the second prize. (I created the score by myself, thanks to software that makes it easier these days). So I was eagerly looking for this years participants and was happy to see the winner published on Facebook. Today I watched the second winner "Lost in the shadow" by Nirankoon Singpraseuth and Khampa Phimmachack, a short movie that might be the first in Laos to use CGI in this extend. Although far from Hollywood standards, I like it how they played with it and created a reasonable story. What struck me was the score: This IS Hollywood standard. It is actually made for Hollywood: The credits mention Batman and Snowwhite (not even the composers, just the movie names). The Vientianale organisers know about the problem with music and score. And they must have heard it when they watched the movie. No way this is done in Laos. It seems, they just don't care. And this shows that they understand film making in the wrong way. A movie is not just something you film with your camera. It requires a script, actors, sound and light crew, cameraman and director, producers, etc etc. And someone who takes care of the score. There are enough open sound and music archives, where you can get music and sound for free. What signals sends it when someone who stole the music not only gets away with it but gets awarded? First of all, nobody in Laos will do any efforts to create their own score and music. They cannot compete with what is just downloaded from the internet. Sound is more important than picture, because a bad sound ruins any movie, while people forgive shaky cameras and blurry screens. I expect again complains from the organisers about my criticism, since it is more important that everyone is happy than to follow the rules and educate Lao filmmakers in international standards. Below the first and third prize:


  1. nothing about this in the competition rules ?

  2. The rules make it pretty clear that you are not allowed to use content from others without permission.