New York, N.Y. – February 2, 2023 – POV announced today the acquisition of the feature documentary, Children of the Mist, directed by Vietnamese filmmaker Hà Lệ Diễm and produced by Trần Phương Thảo. Children of the Mist delves into the tradition of bride kidnapping still practiced by the Hmong, one of Vietnam’s largest ethnic groups Diễm's directorial feature-length debut, is a tender portrait of a community on the cusp between tradition and modernity, and one girl tragically stuck in the middle. Children of the Mist will make its national broadcast premiere on PBS as part of POV's upcoming 36th season launching summer 2023.
“The care and sensitivity of the director shines through in this remarkable film,” said POV’s executive producer Chris White. “Through Diễm’s intimate lens you can’t help but embrace the vibrant Di, and fear for her future as the Hmong’s traditions put her independence at risk.”
"Children of the Mist is a deeply personal film, and it is also my first feature-length,” said Director Hà Lệ Diễm. “The fact that it has been selected to stand alongside the other films of the prestigious POV broadcast series is hardly imaginable to me. Therefore, I would like to express my sincere gratitude for all the love and recognition".
In Children of the Mist, a village hidden in the mist-shrouded Northwest Vietnamese mountains resides an indigenous Hmong community, home to 12-year-old Di, part of the first generation of her people with access to formal education. A free spirit, Di happily recounts her experiences to Vietnamese filmmaker Hà Lệ Diễm who planted herself within Di's family over the course of three years to document this unique coming of age. As Di grows older, her carefree childhood gives way to an impulsive and sensitive adolescence, a dangerous temperament for what will happen next; in this insular community, girls must still endure the controversial but accepted tradition of "bride kidnapping." One night, when the young girl's parents return home from celebrating the Lunar New Year, they are shocked to find their house is silent: Di has disappeared.
Hà Lệ Diễm’s Children of the Mist, made the Documentary Feature Film shortlist for the 95th Academy Awards®. The film had its world premiere at the 2021 International Documentary Filmfestival Amsterdam where Diễm won the Award for Best Directing and the First Appearance Award - Special Mention. The film garnered the Best International Film at DocAvivin 2022, and the Documentary Jury Prize at the 2022 Hong Kong International Film Festival.
TheChildren of the Mist deal was negotiated by Chris White and Erika Dilday for American Documentary | POV and Demetri Makoulis, Vice President of Sales for Film Movement.
Children of the Mist
Director: Hà Lệ Diễm
Producers: Swann Dubus, Trần Phương Thảo
Executive Producers: Erika Dilday and Chris White for American Documentary | POV
Editor: Swann Dubus
Running Time: 92min
About the Filmmakers
Hà Lệ Diễm, Director, Children of the Mist
Hà Lệ Diễm was born in 1991 in the Tay ethnic minority group living in the mountains of Northeast Vietnam. She left her hometown to study journalism at the University of Social Sciences and Humanities in Hanoi, where she graduated in 2013. Children of the Mist is her first feature documentary film project. She is a Sundance Institute Documentary Film Program Grantee.
Swann Dubus, Producer, Children of the Mist
After obtaining a Masters of Literature, Swann Dubus (b.1977) completed a PhD about intimacy in cinema at Paris III University in 2006. At the same time, he worked as a DoP and directed several documentary features in Europe, Africa and Asia. He moved to Hanoi in 2007 and has worked alongside Trần Phuong Thao since then.
Trần Phương Thảo, Producer, Children of the Mist
Trần Phuong Thao (b. 1977 in Hanoi, Vietnam) moved to France in 2000 to complete her dream of being a documentary filmmaker. After graduating with a degree in Political Science in Paris, she studied documentary film techniques and writing at Poitiers University. Back in Vietnam, she directed Workers Dream an official selection at many international festivals and was awarded at Cinéma du Réel 2007 (P. Perrault Award). Since 2011, she directed several documentary films in collaboration with Swann Dubus including With or Without Me winner of the White Goose Award at DMZ Docs 2012 and Finding Phong (Grand Prix Nanook - Jean Rou IFF Paris, 2016.
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