Viet Nam draws on cartoon experience

Vietnamese companies are producing a huge number of animation films for various platforms, not only for the Vietnamese market but also foreign ones.

Children, adults, males, females, and pretty much anyone you can imagine love watching great cartoons.
This art form has been around for years, ever-evolving as technology improves. At the forefront of animation in Viet Nam is the Sconnect’s Woa Network, which has created characters like Wolfoo, Tiny, Bearee, and Max, popular with children all over the world.
Since its establishment nine years ago, Woa Network has built up a content stock of more than 20,000 videos with over 4 billion views. The technology used varies from 2D to 3D and stop-motion.
“Our target market is North America. We hope to conquer the most demanding markets. Next year, we want to expand to the domestic market to apply Vietnamese traditional features in our products.” Pham Duy Anh, head of Woa Network’s Tiny series production team told Viet Nam News.
At present, the team mostly does business on the YouTube platform. With their latest product using a character set of clay mixers, they are aiming for video-on-demand and TV platforms.
Woa Network’s animation team has thousands of people all playing a crucial part in bringing characters to life.
Tuong Vinh Quang, a staff member of the Tiny series production team, said his main task is controlling the characters and taking photos of them to create a series of actions in stop-motion animation films.
“This duty requires skill and diligence because if one works with repetitive actions, they can lose their patience and be unable to maintain the job for long,” Quang said.
 “Vietnamese animation films are getting more and more professional and closer to the audience,” he said. “There are no longer pure entertaining films.”
Tran Thi Lan Chi, sales manager of Sconnect, said when they started the production, Sconnect focused on entertainment for children. “Sconnect has realised that its content has affected the youth in a certain way,” she said.
“In the past few years, Sconnect started to produce both entertainment and educational content. A positive effect we have received is that when we meet partners with small children, they give good feedback on Wolfoo. Like their children told them: ‘Wolfoo said this, Wolfoo said that’… It means that our educative features have some positive impact on children’s behaviour and habits.”
Long history
Animation is one of three sectors making up Vietnamese cinema, together with feature films and documentaries. It has a history since 1959, with the short animated film Dang Doi Thang Cao (Fox, You Deserve It) and the first feature film Chung Mot Dong Song (Sharing the Same River) completed around this time.
"It means that animated film has a fairly long history together with the feature film category in Vietnamese cinema," said Ngo Phuong Lan, chairperson of the Viet Nam Association of Film Promotion and Development.
She said besides the state-owned Viet Nam Animation SJC, there were many private companies. The Vietnam Animation SJC produces nearly 20 short animation films between 10 and 30 minutes long. Private companies, in contrast, have a freer rein and produce a huge number of animation films for various platforms, not only for the Vietnamese market but also foreign ones.
“Yet sometimes, the private companies cannot find where they belong,” Lan said. Lan noted that such big companies like Sconnect had clear targets and market segmentation for each of their products. And they had succeeded.

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ANIMATOR: Tuong Vinh Quang works patiently in his studio. VNS Photo Le Huong
CLAYMATION: Characters in Woa Connection's Tiny series using stop-motion technology. Photo courtesy of Sconnect company
The Woolfo series has reached China's market and the first series commercially screened at cinemas in Viet Nam. Screenshot photo from YouTube


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