The Grand Jury will select the following awards to be presented during the festival.
Grand Jury Trống Đồng Award for Best Feature –
The Accidental Getaway Driver, directed by Sing J. Lee (USA)
The best feature film is chosen based on several criteria including: production value, artistic merits, storyline, and community relevance.
Grand Jury Trống Đồng Award for Best Short
Good Chips, directed by Nell Hensey (Ireland)
The best short film is chosen based on several criteria including: production value, artistic merits, storyline, and community relevance.
Best Actor Award
Lê Công Hoàng, Tro tàn rực rỡ (Glorious Ashes), directed by Bùi Thạc Chuyên (Vietnam)
Awarded for the best performance by an actor in any feature or short film at Viet Film Fest.
Best Actress Award
Elly Murray, Good Chips, directed by Nell Hensey (Ireland)
Awarded for the best performance by an actress in any feature or short film at Viet Film Fest.
In Living Memory, directed by Quyên Nguyen-Le (USA)
The Spotlight Award is given to a film that either highlights an important issue or burgeoning filmmaker.
Audience Choice Awards
The audience rates each film on a scale of 1 (worst) to 5 (best). The scores are averaged and awarded on the last day of the festival.
Audience Choice for Best Feature
Trạng Tí Phiêu Lưu Ký (The Spectacular Adventure of Little Prodigy), directed by Phan Gia Nhật Linh (Vietnam)
The Audience Choice Awards are honors given to films that have been selected as favorites by VFF’s attendees
Audience Choice for Best Short
Supermarket Affairs, directed by Hang Luong Nguyen (Vietnam)
The Audience Choice Awards are honors given to films that have been selected as favorites by VFF’s attendees
Trần Tường Huy Volunteer Appreciation Award
Acknowledges the inspiring service, enthusiasm, and dedication of an exceptional volunteer
How are awards selected?
Our curatorial committee consists of community activists, filmmakers, academics, youth organizers, and community members who try to select a very diverse program to reflect the range of Vietnamese voices and stories. Thank you this year to our 2023 Curatorial Committee!
Dr. Quan Tran
Dr. Quan Tran is a 1.5 generation Vietnamese American who hails from a refugee background. She is a multi-lingual scholar and educator with research, teaching, and consulting experiences in the fields of Asian American Studies, critical refugee studies, Vietnamese diaspora studies, and food studies. Dr. Tran is deeply committed to and finds joy in collaborative work that uplifts, empowers, and connects underrepresented communities. She is also a translator and poet as well as an avid nature photographer. She is currently working on two mini documentaries about Vietnamese food and art, two of her many passion projects.
Jamie Tran is an actress known for Hieu, Blood Covered Chocolate and Leverage Redemption. She began her training at the Beverly Hills Playhouse, Margie Haber Studios and with Amy Lyndon. Jamie always had a passion for acting and now, filmmaking. Her performance in “Hieu”, was a short film winner for the Cannes Film Festival Cinefondation in 2019 and she was nominated Best Actress at the Viet Film Festival in 2019 for her performance in “Hieu.” She then, co-starred in hit tv show Leverage Redemption with Noah Wylie and James Marsters. Her love for storytelling led to her first written, co-directed and production of Iris. From her own written work, she’s currently has a short film and feature screenplay in the works. She was cast in another short film shooting this summer.
As a Vietnamese immigrant and filmmaker in the US, Thy Tran is drawn to the politics of social and sexual identity. With film, he wishes to explore and confront the issues therein. He sees film as not just entertainment but a reflection of humanity and who we are as a society. Since moving to LA in 2007 to pursue a career in film, Thy has worked in advertising for Big Brother, the Jay Leno, Conan O’Brien, and currently The Late Late Show with James Corden while developing his screenplays into feature films.
In 2020, Thy debuted his first short film, SummerWinterSummer, as a writer and director. The short has since been an official selection at CAAMFest, San Diego Asian FF, Vancouver Queer Film Fest, and Not Film Fest in Italy. SWS is also nominated as Best Short at the Viet Film Fest in 2021. Thy is currently developing the short into a feature film. Under the same title, the SummerWinterSummer feature follows a young graphics designer as he navigates a recent heartbreak, loneliness, and racism against Asian men within the LGBTQ+ community.
Thy’s credits as a film editor include Merci Beaucoup Bradley Cooper, a 2013 Cannes Court Métrage Selection, Alberto Burri and Piero della Francesca:The Two Revolutions, a feature documentary aired on the Italian network Sky Arte (2016), the feature comedy Better Days (2017), feature drama Prevertere (2015), and music videos for CC Sheffield, Andy Clockwise, and Jameson Burt.
Our esteemed Grand Jury consists of diverse leaders and stars in the filmmaking world.
Born at Hanoi, Vietnam, studied Philosophy in Saigon, History of Art and Conservatory of Theater in Geneva. Lives and works in Switzerland and Vietnam.
- “We come into Life” 2019, HongKong IFF, Solothurner Filmtage 2021, Queens
World FF: nominated Best Fiction 2021, Dallas IFF: Finalist Best Picture, Best
Picture Palm Springs IF Award, 2022, LA Women Films Awards 2022 Nominee Best
- “On the Endless Road”, 2017, Poetic Cinema Award, Queen World FF, New York, 2017, CPH Pix, Copenhagen 2018, DOCFEST Hanoi, VietFest 2017.
- ”Homostratus”, 2014 «Best Unique Vision», Queens World Film Festival, Nominated Best Film, Best Director, Best Editing AIFFA 2015, Women International Film Festival Creteil, Paris, Worclaw Five Flavours FF, VietFest FF, DOCLAB Hanoi IFF.
- ”Here… or There?”, 2010, «New Currents», Busan International Film Festival 2011,
Trophées Francophones FF, Osaka Asian FF, Madrid IFF, Women International Film Festival Creteil, Regio Emile Italy FF, VietFest FF
- ”The other side of a dream”, Scenario Award, Festival International de Film
- ”Sing an Idle Song », 2019, Images Forum Tokyo
- “Fog over the summit and storm over the plain”, Exit South-East Images, Taipei
- ”Swallow an Angel”, 2007, Strasbourg FF, LIFF Lausanne
- ”The Script of Udaipur”, 2004, ”Saigon ́s Blues”, 2000 Geneve fait son cinéma.
Lan Duong is Associate Professor in Cinema and Media Studies at the University of Southern California. She is the author of Treacherous Subjects: Gender, Culture, and Trans-Vietnamese Feminism. Dr. Duong’s second book project, Transnational Vietnamese Cinemas and the Archives of Memory, examines the modes of memory and critique in Vietnamese and Vietnamese diasporic films. Her debut collection of poems, Nothing Follows, was recently published by Texas Tech University Press in 2023. She is founding member of the Critical Refugee Studies Collective and a longtime supporter of Vietnamese diasporic arts and literature through organizations like DVAN and VAALA. She has had the pleasure of serving on the screening committee for Viet Film Fest several times in the past. Her favorite film genre is the horror film.
Phan Dang Di
After graduating from the Faculty of Screenwriting at the Hanoi Academy of Theatre and Cinema, Phan Dang Di started his career as an independent filmmaker. His vision was to establish a team of young directors to create a “new wave” in Vietnamese cinema.
“Bi, Don’t Be Afraid” was the first feature film in which Di worked as a producer, screenwriter, and director in 2009. The film won two prizes at Cannes Critic’s Week 2010 and many other awards in Vancouver, Hong Kong, and Stockholm.
Di’s second film, “Big Father, Small Father and Other Stories,” was selected for the Official Competition at Berlinale 2015. The film had a commercial release in Taiwan, Poland, and France. In France, it was acquired by Memento Films and was widely released from April 2016 in over 20 cities across the country.
In addition to his career as an independent filmmaker, Di also taught Film History and Screenwriting at Hanoi National University and Fulbright Vietnam University. He organized Autumn Meeting, an annual international cinema event in Da Nang, Vietnam, starting in 2013. Autumn Meeting is renowned as one of the most important cinema events in Vietnam and Southeast Asia. It has also helped many young talents from Vietnam and Southeast Asia enter the world’s most prestigious film festivals such as Cannes, Berlin, and Venice.”
Past Award Recipients
- Trống Đồng Award for Best Feature Film: Children of the Mist directed by Hà Lệ Diễm
- Trống Đồng Award for Best Short Film: Taste of Home directed by Âni Võ
- Best Actor: Thái Hoà in Blood Moon Party
- Best Actress: Thu Trang in Blood Moon Party
- Spotlight Award (co-winners): Erin Hembrador and Quan Luong for Container; Âni Võ for Taste of Home
- Inspiration Award: Trinh T. Mình-ha
- Audience Choice for Best Feature: Maika: The Girl from Another Galaxy, directed by Ham Tran
- Audience Choice for Best Short: Breakdown, directed by Hon Hoang
- Trần Tường Huy Volunteer Appreciation Award: Jade Ngoc Tu
- Inspiration Award: Kelly Marie Tran
- Grand Jury Trống Đồng Award for Best Feature: Be Water by Bao Nguyen
- Grand Jury Trống Đồng Award for Best Short: Malabar by Maximilian Badier-Rosenthal
- Best Actor: Tran Thanh in Bố Già (Dad, I’m Sorry)
- Best Actress: Hong Dao in Goodbye Mother (Thưa Mẹ Con Đi)
- Spotlight Award: Fighting for Family by Lan Nguyen
- Audience Choice for Best Feature: Bố Già (Dad, I’m Sorry) by Tran Thanh and Vu Ngoc Dang
- Audience Choice for Best Short: Calling by Hon Hoang and Nostalgia by McFloyd Nguyen
- Trần Tường Huy Volunteer Appreciation Award: Cat-Dang Ly (Guest Relations Committee)
- Grand Jury Trống Đồng Award: Song Lang by Leon Le
- Spotlight Award: Seadrift directed by Tim Tsai
- Best Short Film: Walk Run Cha Cha by Laura Nix
- Best Actress: Kim Xuan in Like An Old House
- Best Actor: Lien Binh Phat for his performance in Song Lang
- Audience Choice for Best Feature Film: My Mr. Wife (Chàng Vợ Của Em) by Charlie Nguyen and Song Lang by Leon Le
- Audience Choice for Best Short Film: Journey of Wanderers by Huynh Anh Duy
- Trần Tường Huy Volunteer Appreciation Award: Bao-Ngoc Tran (Box Office Manager)
- Grand Jury Trống Đồng Award: The Island by Tuan Andrew Nguyen
- Spotlight Award: Summer in Closed Eyes (Nhắm Mắt Thấy Mùa Hè) by Cao Thuy Nhi
- Best Short Film: Apples and Oranges by Duc Ngo Ngoc
- Best Actress: Thien Nguyen for her performance in Actress Wanted
- Best Actor: Long Nguyen for his performance in Actress Wanted and Pham Anh Khoa in The Island
- Audience Choice for Best Feature Film: Kiss and Spell (Yêu Đi Đừng Sợ) by Stephane Gauger
- Audience Choice for Best Short Film: Spring Leaves (Feuilles de Printemps) by Stephane Ly-Cuong and Nguyening: The Lee Nguyen Story by Alfonso Bui
- Trần Tường Huy Volunteer Appreciation Award: Nhieu Do (Technical Committee)
- Grand Jury Trống Đồng Award: Yellow Flowers on the Green Grass (Tôi Thấy Hoa Vàng Trên Cỏ Xanh) by Victor Vũ
- Spotlight Award: Finding Phong by Tran Phuong Thao and Swann Dubus
- Best Short Film: My Home (Chez Moi) by Mai Phuong Nguyen
- Best Actress: Miu Lê for her performance in Sweet Twenty (Em Là Bà Nội Của Anh)
- Best Actor: Tâm Dinh for his performance in Never Forget
- Audience Choice for Best Feature Film: Finding Phong by Tran Phuong Thao and Swann Dubus
- Audience Choice for Best Short Film: Honoring Life: The Work of Trinh Mai by David Fokos
- Grand-Jury Trống Đồng Award for Best Feature: Flapping in the Middle of Nowhere (Đập Cánh Giữa Không Trung) directed by Nguyễn Hoàng Điệp
- Grand-Jury Trống Đồng Award for Best Short: Talking to My Mother directed by Leon Le
- Spotlight: Land of Sorrow (Đất Khổ) directed by Hà Thúc Cần
- Best Actress: Nguyễn Thanh Tú for her performance in Gentle (Dịu Dàng)
- Best Actor: Thanh Duy for his performance in Flapping in the Middle of Nowhere (Đập Cánh Giữa Không Trung)
- Audience Choice (Feature): Can directed by Pearl J. Park
- Audience Choice (Short): Master Hoa’s Requiem directed by Scott Edwards
- Grand-Jury Trống Đồng Award for Best Feature: Funny Money (Tiền Chùa) directed by Thiện Đỗ
- Grand-Jury Trống Đồng Award for Best Short: Burn to Send (Đốt Về Trời) directed by Andinh Ha
- Spotlight: Number 10 Blues / Goodbye Saigon directed by Norio Osada
- Best Actress: Ninh Dương Lan Ngọc for her performance in Thuy
- Best Actor: Khương Ngọc for his performance in Funny Money (Tiền Chùa)
- Audience Choice (Feature): Công Binh – The Lost Fighters of Vietnam (Công Binh, la longue indochinoise nuit) directed by Lam Lê
- Audience Choice (Short): Hanoi Fly Boy by Viet Phuong Dao
- Inspiration Award: Tran Anh Hung
- Grand-Jury Trống Đồng Award for Best Feature: War Witch (Rebelle), directed by Kim Nguyen
- Grand-Jury Trống Đồng Award for Best Short: Picture. Perfect by Winston Titus Tao
- Spotlight: Stateless by Duc Nguyen and A Tree Worker’s Case by Daniela Agostin
- Best Actress: Ngô Thanh Vân for her performance in House in the Alley (Ngôi Nhà Trong Hẻm)
- Best Actor: Thái Hòa for his performance in In the Name of Love (Lấy Chồng Người Ta)
- Best Cinematography:Nguyễn K’ Linh for Blood Letter (Bức Huyết Thư)
- Audience Choice (Feature): Mr. Cao Goes To Washington directed by S. Leo Chiang
- Audience Choice (Short): Stateless directed by Duc Nguyen
- Grand-Jury Trống Đồng Award for Best Feature: Bi, Don’t Be Afraid (Bi, Đừng Sợ!) directed by Phan Đăng Di
- Grand-Jury Trống Đồng Award for Best Short: Behind Death (Phía Sau Cái Chết) directed by Tạ Nguyên Hiệp
- Spotlight: Mother Fish directed by Khoa Đỗ
- Best Actress: Đỗ Thị Hải Yến in Floating Lives (Cánh Đồng Bất Tận)
- Best Actor: Dustin Nguyen in Floating Lives (Cánh Đồng Bất Tận)
- Audience Choice (Feature): Touch directed by Minh Duc Nguyen
- Audience Choice (Short): Fading Light by Thiện Đỗ and Things You Don’t Joke About by Viet Nguyen
- Grand-Jury Trống Đồng Award for Best Feature: Footy Legends by Khoa Đỗ
- Grand-Jury Trống Đồng Award for Best Short: A Summer Rain by Ela Thier
- Spotlight: Dustin Nguyen
- Audience Choice (Feature): Operation Babylift: The Lost Children of Vietnam by Tammy Nguyen Lee
- Audience Choice (Short): Delivery Day by Jane Manning
- Grand-Jury Trống Đồng Award for Best Feature: Journey from the Fall (Vượt Sóng) directed by Ham Tran
- Best Short: Windowbreaker directed by Tze Chun
- Spotlight: Screenwriter Nguyễn Thị Minh Ngọc for her script of Living in Fear (Sống Trong Sợ Hãi)
- Audience Choice (Feature): The Rebel (Dòng Máu Anh Hùng) directed by Charlie Nguyen
- Audience Choice (Short): Going Home directed by Hung P. Nguyen
- Grand-Jury Trống Đồng Award for Best Short: Afternoon (Buổi Chiều) by Kim Spurlock
- Spotlight: Long Nguyễn for his performances in First Morning and Green Dragon
- Audience Choice (Short): Tiger’s Apprentice by M. Trinh Nguyễn
- Lifetime Achievement Award: Kiều Chinh
- Spotlight: First Morning by Victor Vũ
- Audience Choice (Short): The Anniversary (Ngày Giỗ) by Hàm Trần and Passage of Life (Đường Trần) by Lưu Huỳnh