Why I’m choosing to shoot a film in Vietnam

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I wanted to shoot my film in Soho originally, but as I walked around and started to plan where I’d like to shoot, I realised that Soho wasn’t representative of the world I wanted to create. It’s changed considerably over the years, there aren’t as many neon lights/signage, the underworld setting is fast being replaced by commercialism and modernised apartment blocks tailored for bankers in the corporate finance world. There isn’t a sense of community anymore because there aren’t any independent shops, they’ve all been driven out by the ever spiralling rent prices. It’s weird because Soho is a place the tourists come to London to see but this cultural hub of life is being quickly erased. It’s just too sad.

It is also very expensive to shoot in London, and I couldn’t really get away with shooting secretly and I didn’t want to either.

After speaking with my friend and cinematographer Louis Barber Corallo who shot my previous film Newborn about his move to Vietnam nearly a year ago, he suggested that it could be a good idea to shoot in Ho Chi Minh City. After some thinking, I realised that it made complete sense and it’s so strange because the alien prostitute was actually an oriental girl in my script anyhow.

With this in mind, I started to research Ho Chi Minh and was blown away by just how scenic and beautiful it is. It was the epitome of the world I was trying to create.

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Photograph taken by Louis Barber Corallo

Since then Louis and I have been on the look out for the locations we would like to shoot in. He’s already found a few places of interest and I will be leaving tomorrow for two weeks to do a recce, casting auditions and to shoot a concept scene. We would like to shoot the actual film in May or June.

The next challenge is the casting. I will be entering a world where I am the alien, trying to make a movie about aliens in a country which isn’t mine and a culture I will learn all about. I have countless meetings scheduled and people who are willing to help and who are equally excited about the project, but this trip will certainly determine and confirm the reality of shooting in a foreign country.

I’ll keep you all posted and come on board the journey!

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