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BrisAsia's 'Pho'nomenal: Jon Bling Talks About His Film Never Forget

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BrisAsia's 'Pho'nomenal is a new three-day festival showcasing creative works by Vietnamese artists.

It features film screenings, Q&As with creatives, Vpop performances and fashion.

Director Jon Bling answers some questions about his film 'Never Forget', which is showing as part of 'Pho'nomenal.

What is your film 'Never Forget' all about?
'Never Forget' is about a young Australian nurse who travels back to Vietnam to attend her father’s funeral. Along the way she re-discovers herself by experiencing the culture and traditions of Vietnam’s vast history and landscapes. Beneath the surface, the film is more about how we really don’t know much about ourselves and how easily it is to lose focus about our own desires and futures. The main concern is to take a step back and not only realise the journey that we are taking through life, but how we got there in the first place.

Where did the inspiration come from?
I had visited Vietnam with my father back in 2010 and that was the first time he had come back since the war. After spending my entire life in Australia, it never really occurred to me how much the homeland had shaped the way my parents had brought us up. The images of living in farming villages and the way they lived a simple life showed me that this country had so much great beauty and yet was also tainted by its own history. I decided that when I got back to Australia that one day I would return and make a film about how I felt the moment I stepped off that plane and was greeted by family that I had never knew I had.

What does it mean for you to be screening 'Never Forget' at 'Pho'nomenal?
To be honest, it means the world to me that my film is being screened at all. It took a total of six years from writing the script to finally sending it off to film festivals around the world. It is not your typical Vietnamese film as it is more of an Australian film from the point of view of a Vietnamese character and how she copes with this strange new world she used to know. I want as many people to watch the film, especially the young Vietnamese kids of today who I know will feel the same feelings I had when I arrived back to Vietnam. It is truly an honour to have 'Never Forget' to be screened at 'Pho'nomenal.

You'll be heading off around the world after BrisAsia. Where are you going?
After Brisbane, we have two more screenings in the USA and we also have been accepted in Russia and France. Hopefully when that is completed, we can have more Australian screenings once we gain more exposure for the film. We are still waiting on more film festivals until the end of the year.

Why do you think BrisAsia and 'Pho'nomenal are a good idea for Brisbane?
I think BrisAsia and 'Pho'nomenal is good for Brisbane because creating awareness for the Asian community is a hard task already. We already have the majority in Melbourne and Sydney, so it’s good to get the word out in cities that normally wouldn’t have events like this.

BrisAsia's 'Pho'nomenal takes place at Metro Arts from 17-19 February.

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