UK dates here soon for special screenings of
Dust & Metal’ with musical hologram performance 

Star Nha Ease UK Programme

Star Nhà Ease: Vietnamese Cinema Season · full UK programme details
Plus Q&As with Director Esther Johnson and performer Xo Xinh after each performance

Sunday 19 May 2024
FACT, Cinema in the City Liverpool
‘Dust & Metal’ with a live score by Xo Xinh

Friday 17 May 2024
MAC Birmingham
‘Dust & Metal’ with a live score by Xo Xinh

Thursday 16 May 2024
Rich Mix London
‘Dust & Metal’ with a live score by Xo Xinh

> Click on images for slideshow

December 1 and 3 2023
46th Edition, 3 Continents Film Festival Cinema Katorza, Nantes, France Plus Q&A with Director Esther Johnson

‘Dust & Metal’ will screen in the Anthology of Vietnamese Cinema in which audiences in France were given the chance to see many rare titles from the Vietnam Film Institute, including feature films from which clips were integrated in ‘Dust & Metal’. “A montage film elaborated from Vietnamese news images and film excerpts (of which some are presented in this retrospective) originating from the Vietnam Film Institute’s collections, Dust & Metal literally spans the story of a country by borrowing as much from these archives as from the country’s most used mode of transport: the two-wheeled vehicle (bike, motorbike, scooter). A symbol of Vietnam and of its history, two-wheeled vehicles are the marker of movement and of this society’s resilience, taking part in its definitions of work, class, travel, technology and freedom.” Festival Curator Jérôme Baron

Cua Bien Cine Meet

28 October 2023
Seagate Creative and Cultural Space Không gian văn hóa sáng tạo Cửa Biển, Hai Phong, Vietnam
Plus Q&A with Director Esther Johnson

> Click on images for slideshow

Live Cinema UK, Monsoon Music Festival and TPD Center are pleased to present the Cine-Concert of Dust & Metal with the live performance of artist Xinh Xô
Plus Q&As with Director Esther Johnson and performer Xinh Xô

Hanoi 17 October 2023, 8pm
Khán phòng Ngụy Như Kon Tum – 19 Lê Thánh Tông, Hoàn Kiếm, Hà Nội
Register HERE

Ho Chi Minh City 20 October 2023, 7.30pm
The Shade | Nam Thi House, 152 Nam Kỳ Khởi Nghĩa, Quận 1, TP. HCMC
Register HERE

The Vietnam film premiere is part of DUST & METAL: CONNECTIONS IN SOUND AND VISION, a project implemented by TPD Centre and Live Cinema UK, supported by the British Council as part of the UK/Viet Nam Season 2023. The premiere was accompanied with film workshops for young creatives in Hanoi and HCMC resulting in a series of ‘One Minute Remix’ films that utilised audio-visual material from ‘Dust & Metal’. Project detail:

DUST & METAL (2022) is a creative documentary feature film by British director Esther Johnson, produced by Johnson and Live Cinema UK and funded by the British Council. The project was created by a unique partnership between Hanoi-based Vietnam Film Institute, and The Centre for Assistance and Development of Movie Talents TPD

DUST & METAL presents stories of ‘freedom’ in Vietnam past and present told through the lens of the country’s ubiquitous mode of transport: the motorbike. Through a unique partnership with the Vietnam Film Institute to digitise rare archive film, this British Council funded project is an unmissable audiovisual live cinema experience. Repositioning archive film, contemporary footage with a live score composed and performed by San Francisco-based Vietnamese artist Xo Xinh, and sound design by Hanoi-based artist Nhung Nguyễn. The script integrates extracts from oral history interviews Johnson made with eminent Vietnamese filmmaker Trần Văn Thủy; and with visual artist Đặng Ái Việt.

DUST & METAL celebrates, and shares UK-Viet Nam cultural heritage bringing rare archive film to new audiences, to illuminate unfamiliar histories of Vietnam.

Esther Johnson
(MA, RCA) is director and co-producer of feature films ‘Dust & Metal’ and ‘Asunder’. Esther’s poetic portraits focus on alternative social, marginal, and micro-histories. The repositioning of archival material is explored as a way of looking at intangible cultural heritage and of addressing the relationship between memory and storytelling. The research and collection of oral histories is used throughout her work, as are participatory methods and collaboration. She is Professor of Film & Media Arts in the Art, Design and Media Research Centre at Sheffield Hallam University, UK and is former recipient of the Philip Leverhulme Research Prize.

Xo Xinh
is an acclaimed Vietnamese electronic musician with numerous collaborations in many top chart records of Vietnamese acclaimed artists and is currently Director of Audio and Music Technology at the University of Silicon Valley, USA. Xo Xinh’s compositions have been selected to be performed throughout the U.S., and in Europe, Australia, and South America including Sonorities Festival of Contemporary Music, Australasian Computer Music Conference, Electronic Music Midwest Festival, PNEM Sound Art Festival, San Francisco Electronic Music Festival, International Electroacoustic Music Festival of the Conservatory of Santa Cecilia, Monsoon Music Festival, Sheffield DocFest.
DaNang Asian Film Festival

11 and 12 May 2023
Da Nang Asian Film Festival (DANAFF)
Galaxy cinema and CGV cinema, Da Nang, Vietnam

REAL Documentary Film Festival Laurels

> Click on images for slideshow

21 April 2023, 5.30pm
Reel Documentary Film Festival Phoenix Cinema, Leicester
Plus Q&A with Director Esther Johnson

97 million people · 45 million motorbikes, a cinematic journey across Vietnam by motorbike. Through the repositioning of difficult to access archive film, contemporary footage, and a contemporary score makes this rare archive film available to new audiences, illuminating unfamiliar histories of Vietnam.

> Click on images for slideshow


9 November 2022, 9pm
Leeds International Film Festival
Vue at The Light, Leeds
Plus Q&A with Director Esther Johnson and Producer Lisa Brook

We’re delighted to welcome director Esther Johnson and producer Lisa Brook for an introduction and Q&A.

An illuminating and highly creative documentary featuring past and present stories of freedom in Vietnam, Esther Johnson’s Dust and Metal combines archive film, contemporary footage, and a stunning soundtrack to highlight an unorthodox history of Vietnam. Showcasing motorbikes at the very core of Vietnam’s recent history, this unique film, directed by Esther Johnson, swoops and swoons to the sounds of engines and horns while paying homage to the country’s remarkable cinematic history, creating an unparalleled symphony of Vietnamese life.’

> Click on images for slideshow


27 June 2022, 8pm
Sheffield DocFest
Sheffield City Hall, Memorial Hall
Plus Q&A with Director Esther Johnson, Performer Xo Xinh and Producer Lisa Brook

‘Esther Johnson’s film brings together a trove of archive and contemporary footage for a thrilling, unorthodox portrait of Vietnam, screened with live music composed by Xo Xinh.

Between tourist promotions and Hollywood films lies another Vietnam, whose stunning landscape has been evocatively captured from the country’s most accessible form of transport: the motorbike. Like her ground-breaking 2016 work Asunder, Johnson’s new film employs old and new footage in inventive ways to challenge preconceived stereotypes. It also explores the role of the motorbike – often the only suitable mode of transport for navigating Vietnam’s vast arterial system of tiny country roads – within the country’s history and culture.

Accompanying Johnson’s evocative montage is Xo Xinh’s electronic score, performed live, conveying in equal measure the film’s sense of wonder.’