The Dreaming City (Thành Phố Thơ Mộng)


Produced in Vietnam & USA | 2018 | 10 min

Language: English

Sat Oct 13 at 4:00pm-5:40pm


In Attendance: Andrew DeJohn (Director/DP/Editor)

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The city of Saigon is caught dreaming. In the tradition of the city symphony genre, The Dreaming City is an experimental dance documentary that weaves together the beating rhythm and reality of Saigon with the dancers who give the city life.

Tóm Lược Nội Dung

Thành phố Sài Gòn bị bắt gặp đang mơ mộng. Nằm trong truyền thống thể loại city symphony, The Dreaming City là bộ phim tài liệu múa thể nghiệm đan cài nhịp điệu nhộn nhịp với hiện thực của Sài Gòn với những nghệ sĩ múa, những người mang lại sức sống cho thành phố.

Andrew DeJohn

Andrew DeJohn

Director's Biography

Andy DeJohn is an award-winning writer, producer and director from Erie, Pennsylvania. Before working in film, Andy studied comparative religion at the University of Chicago and spent time working with emotionally troubled youth–two experiences that influence to this day much of his film work. Besides working on his own projects, Andy produces documentary television shows for channels such as Discovery Channel, History Channel, H2, Biography and Nat Geo. He has also directed and produced commercials, music videos and promotional videos. A graduate of the USC School of Cinematic Arts, his thesis film Mother’s Milk (Sua Me) won the 2012 Fotokem Gold Award, presented at the Director’s Guild of America. His documentary What’s in a Smile? (2010), a first person look at the role of smiling in human happiness, aired on the Documentary Channel and Hallmark Channel and has screened at festivals around the world.

Director's Statement

My evolution into screendance is unusual in that it is not from dance to dance, but from narrative to dance. In 2010, I wrote and directed a short film called Mother’s Milk (Sua Me), based on the life of my friend Anna, a Vietnamese orphan. I returned to Vietnam in January of 2017 to film Anna meeting her family after twenty-three years. After she went back home to the U.S., I unexpectedly stayed in Ho Chi Minh City and experimented with filming dancers from various backgrounds. The product is The Dreaming City (Thành Phố Thơ Mộng), an experimental dance documentary in the tradition of the “city symphony” that weaves together the beating rhythm and reality of Saigon with the dancers who give the city life.After a lifetime of almost no interest in dance, I become interested in ballet a few years ago. Vietnam was my first attempt at filming dance. I had no plan other than to try to capture the feeling I experienced by practicing and watching dance. I had come to think that if death is the total lack of movement, then dance is surely its opposite. That exhilaration and euphoria is what I wanted to depict.Through friends and charity, I met a multitude of dancers, not just ballet, but also contemporary and commercial. I discovered a vibrant, modern, creative dance scene, one which I do not think most in the U.S. think of when the think of Vietnam. Although I did not choreograph or control any of the dances, I came to see my camera as part of the dance, trying to stay in rhythm to capture as much as I could. Eventually I plan to turn my footage into a feature length documentary, and so my current short film is my first attempt to experiment with telling a story on screen through dance. Appropriately, for the music, I re-purposed the music tracks from Mother’s Milk, and re-edited them to accompany the dance. My two films thus present two versions of the same country. My narrative film is fablistic and tragic. The Dreaming City, which I submit now, is one filled with the decay and growth of that same world represented through dance.



Andy DeJohn


Andy DeJohn


Andy DeJohn


Andy DeJohn


Andy DeJohn