FAMLAB Open Session at The Observatory, HCMC ©

Mervin Lee

Open Session is a series of curated events showcasing contemporary explorations into Vietnamese music and film lineages. The initiative seeks to introduce traditional values or those associated with heritage communities, into the modern, everyday context.

Past sessions

30 June 2019 

Manzi, Hanoi

27 June 2019

Old Compass Café, HCMC 

A series of presentations on the practices and projects of the UK artists and producers participating in the FAMLAB study tour in Vietnam (towards potential collaborations between Vietnamese and UK practitioners). The occasion also enabled various FAMLAB grantee projects to discuss their work and progress. 

In HCMC: presentations from Jan Hagenkoetter (Saigon Soul Revival), George Clark (moving-image artist), Nguyễn Ngọc Vũ (visual artist), Lisa Brook (Live Cinema UK), Matthew Sweet (writer, journalist, broadcaster) 

In Hanoi: presentations from Giàng A Bê (Action for H’mong Development), Esther Johnson (moving-image artist), Vy Nguyễn Anh Phong and Hà Lệ Diễm (independent filmmakers), Sam Groves (Flatpack festival), Cathie Boyd (Sonica festival)

10 May 2019 

Public rehearsal: Saigon Soul Revival 
Café Người Sài Gòn, HCMC 

In that which could be described as a ‘public rehearsal’, the group Saigon Soul Revival shared stories around the tracks that would soon be recorded for their debut album – some more well-known than others, including decades-old compositions never before recorded, as well as new originals penned by group member themselves – and unravelling the interwoven ideas and inspirations behind its current multi-media undertakings. There was even room for audience members to ‘vote’ for their favourite tracks of the evening, in this gallivant into and across 1960s-1970s Vietnamese popular music in all its incarnations.

23 January 2019

Concert: Chem Gio Expanded 
Phu Sa Lab, Hanoi 

Over the course of the past ten days, eight Vietnam-based contemporary musicians have been collaborating, exchanging and working on ideas together at Phu Sa Lab, within the framework of the recent and highly-acclaimed Chem Gio concert – a musical dialogue between traditional and Western wind instruments, developed and originally performed by Nguyen Duc Minh, Quyen Thien Dac and the Dan Do Group. The showcase on 23 January thus constitutes the premiere of an expanded version of Chem Gio, to be performed by 13 musicians on a diverse assortment of musical instruments.

PERFORMERS - Phu Sa Lab: Nguyen Duc Minh, Quyen Thien Dac, Dan Do Group (Dinh Anh Tuan, Tran Kim Ngoc, Nguyen Quang Su) // FAMLAB Residency Participants: Alec Schachner, Alex Formosa, Bryan Wilson, Bui Linh Ha, Huong Donna, Hoang Quoc Tuan, Pham The Vu, Zach Schreier

1 November 2018

Concert: Saigon Supersound (DJ set, Vietnam)
Nhung Nguyen + Zach Schreier (live, Vietnam)
The Observatory, HCMC

The event showcases two performances that track, trace, remember, and reimagine an inter-temporal cross-section of the country’s vast sonic traditions: Vietnamese popular music from the 1960s/1970s, and Central Highlands gong music.

25 September 2018

Vu Anh Duong (film lecturer, Hoa Sen University, Vietnam)
Hoa Sen University, HCMC

This talk on humour and comedy in Vietnamese cinema surveys three main historical periods: wartimes, post-Doi Moi, and modern times.

31 August 2018

Barley Norton (ethnomusicologist, Goldsmiths College, UK)
Joel Mills (senior music manager, British Council UK)
Manzi, Hanoi

The event examines how various forms of film and music have been brought together within the context of cultural heritage, and to what ends.

19 August 2018

Gary Thomas (film manager, British Council UK)
Do Van Hoang (independent filmmaker, Vietnam)
Six Space, Hanoi

A double bill of talks exploring the world of film archives. Considering examples from Vietnam and the UK throughout the years and featuring excerpts from moving-image works that interact with found and archival materials, the event makes a case for the pivotal role of visual archives in the shaping of collective and personal identity alike, and as signposts for time passed and times still to come.

Final concert – 23 January 2019. Photo: Tu Nguyen
Concert: Nhung Nguyen + Zach Schreier (live)  ©

Mervin Lee


Le Thanh Hoang


British Council. Photo: Nguyen Anh Tu


Photo: Nguyen Anh Tu