In its world premiere, the animated documentary Love, Dad will be featured on 6th August in the Pardi di Domani competition of Locarno Film Festival. It is one of the oldest festivals in the world, which focuses on discovering young talents and is distinguished by the artistic originality of selected films.

The MA graduation film Love, Dad takes its director Diana Cam Van Nguyen back to her childhood days, when her father used to send her affectionate letters from prison. Through the letters, she remembers the mutual closeness, which, however, came to an end when her father left for another family. Diana uses the film to respond to her father, blaming him for abandoning the family, but also trying to understand his reasons. The theme of the importance of having a son touches on the conflict between Vietnamese tradition and European values.

The author chose a very unusual technique for her film, combining live-action with rotoscoping, 2D and cut-out animation. “For Love, Dad I chose paper collage, because the central theme of the film is letters. From the beginning, I wanted to work with real letters from my dad and thus maintain authenticity,” explains the director.

Currently, the Czech born Diana Cam Van Nguyen is studying a master’s degree programme at the Department of Animation at the Film and TV School of the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague (FAMU).  Her BA graduation film The Little One (2017) has been screened at many domestic and foreign festivals and won several awards, also competing for the best documentary film for children, the ECFA Doc Award at Berlinale 2019. Her next short film, Apart (2018), had its international premiere at the International Film Festival Rotterdam, it won in the category of the Best Czech Experimental Documentary Film at the Ji.hlava IDFF 2018 and made it among the three finalists at the BAFTA Student Film Awards.

The preparation and filming took two years, and thanks to the entry of a Czech and Slovak co-producer, it has grown to five times its original budget. From its very beginning, the project was supported by the Czech Film Fund and also by the Slovak Audiovisual Fund. “Thanks to this trust we were given, we were able to invest in development and choose a more complex production combining live-action and animation. The main part was filmed in 10 shooting days in the summer and there were around 50 people on the set. We were lucky because we managed to get it done before the autumn lock-down. During autumn, we had enough space for animation, which a four-member team worked on for four months,” adds producer Karolína Davidová from the 13ka production outfit.

This is the third time the director has returned to the anidoc genre, often drawing on her personal experiences. “I don’t choose myself as the topic intentionally. However, these are my own experiences, and I am more confident when working with a story like this. When making films, it’s important for me to be authentic, so it came naturally to me to be influenced by stories and people around me,” says Diana Cam Van Nguyen.


Director                                   Diana Cam Van Nguyen
Screenplay                              Diana Cam Van Nguyen, Lukáš Janičík
Director of photography      Kryštof Melka, Matěj Piňos
Editor                                       Lukáš Janičík
Sound and music                   Viera Marinová
Art director                             Diana Cam Van Nguyen, Darjan Hardi
Animation                               Barbora Halířová, David Štumpf, Diana Cam Van Nguyen, Vojtěch Domlátil
Starring                                   Linh Duong, Hong Nhung The Thi, Hoai Trung Le

Producer                                 Karolína Davidová (13ka, CZ)
Co-producers                         Tomáš Šimon (FAMU, CZ), Jakub Viktorín (nutprodukcia, SK)
Distribution                           Luce Grosjean (Miyu Distribution, FR)

The film was financially supported by the Czech Film Fund, the Slovak Audiovisual Fund and the FILMTALENT ZLÍN Endowment Fund.