Esther Johnson’s ‘DUST & METAL’: Archive documentary call-out for audio and video footage of Motorbike culture across Vietnam

‘Dust & Metal’ (Bụi và Kim loại) is a feature-length film in production in Vietnam directed by Esther Johnson (Professor of Film and Media Arts at Sheffield Hallam University and produced by Live Cinema UK, working with Hanoi-based Vietnam Film Institute and TPD: The Centre for Assistance and Development of Movie Talents. The project is funded by the British Council Digital Collaboration Fund, and offers alternative perspectives of Vietnamese cultural heritage through the synergy of crowd-sourced material, archive film, oral history interviews, and newly shot footage. At the heart of this project, are personal narratives of freedom in Vietnam that connect with the country’s ubiquitous mode of transport: the MOTORBIKE. With the CoViD-19 pandemic, the theme of ‘Freedom’ has become even more pertinent. The pandemic has led to creative collaborative co-production methods for film production between the UK, Vietnam and US. With a score composed by San Francisco-based electronic artist Xo Xinh, and sound design by Hanoi-based artist Nhung Nguyễn, the project is being devised with the unique aim of premiering as a live ‘cine-concert’.

In order to capture a breadth of material, the project team are developing a dual Vietnamese/English digital web resource in which crowd-sourced audio and video footage can be submitted. Photographic stills and written texts related to Vietnam and motorbikes can also be submitted. The aim is to create and provide an alternative collection of publicly sourced material accessible by all. This resource will act as an alternative public archive of Vietnam audio-visual material for remixing, and a selection of the video footage will be integrated into the final ‘Dust & Metal’ film. Assets will be uploaded under creative commons copyright terms allowing anyone to download and remix a new work for non-commercial purposes. The website will have a dedicated area in which newly remixed motorbike themed works will be able to be re-uploaded to the website so crowd-sourced footage has the opportunity for further life in multiple forms.

Housed on the Dust & Metal website, the resource will:
— create a unique Vietnam collection of audio-visual assets available to the public
— be a democratic space providing opportunities for co-creation and shared authorship
— be an alternative space for the collection of contemporary cultural heritage assets
— form a pool of internationally accessible assets available for anyone to make new work
— be dual English and Vietnamese imparting cultural heritage to a wide audience network

The ‘Dust & Metal’ team are now inviting submissions of audio/video footage, photographs or written stories related to motorbikes in Vietnam to be preserved for posterity. In addition, contributors have the chance for their footage to be selected for inclusion in the final feature film and receive a fee and film credit for inclusion. Contributions are welcome from everybody, including film makers, videographers, oral historians, motorbike enthusiasts and avid travellers.

Vietnam and European premieres of the work are planned for late 2021 through 2022 CoViD permitting.

This project is funded by the British Council Digital Collaboration Fund. The project website is funded by the Art, Design and Media Research Centre at Sheffield Hallam University.

Please follow the website to be notified of future news in connection with ‘Dust & Metal’. You can also join the project social media channels here:
Instagram    @dustandmetalfilm
Twitter         @dustandmetal
Facebook     @dustandmetal