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27 June 2022, 8pm · Sheffield DocFest Sheffield City Hall, Memorial Hall
Plus Q&A with Esther Johnson, Xo Xinh and 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.’

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9 November 2022, 9pm · Leeds International Film Festival Vue at The Light, Leeds
Plus Q&A with Esther Johnson and 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.’

REAL Documentary Film Festival Laurels

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21 April 2023, 5.30pm · REAL Documentary Festival Phoenix Cinema, Leicester
Plus Q&A with Esther Johnson

Director Esther Johnson will also participate in the Industry Panel Adventures in Archive at 4pm

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17 & 20.10.2023
Hanoi & Ho Chi Minh City
Screening with live soundtrack
With: Director Esther Johnson, Artist, performer Xinh Xô
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
8PM – 17.10.2023
Khán phòng Ngụy Như Kon Tum – 19 Lê Thánh Tông, Hoàn Kiếm, Hà Nội
Register here:
Ho Chi Minh City:
7.30PM – 20.10.2023
The Shade | Nam Thi House, 152 Nam Kỳ Khởi Nghĩa, Quận 1, TP. HCM
Register here:
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.
About director Esther Johnson
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.
About artist Xinh Xô
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.
The DUST&METAL: CONNECTIONS IN SOUND AND VISION project is implemented by TPD Centre and Live Cinema UK, supported by the British Council as part of the UK/Viet Nam Season 2023.
Project detail: