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Vietnam Film Business Comes of Age With Action-Thriller ‘Furie’

Veronica Van Ngo, who had a brief but memorable role as Paige Tico in “Star Wars: The Last Jedi,” is returning to her Vietnamese roots with the action-thriller “Furie.”

Ngo, who has credits dating back to 2005’s “Saigon Love Story,” produces, writes, and stars in “Furie.” Arclight Films is selling the movie at the American Film Market, and Well Go USA has bought U.S. rights.

“The appetite for more cross-cultural and strong female empowerment stories is accelerating at a rapid pace,” said Arclight chairman Gary Hamilton. “Now more than ever, it’s important for us at Arclight to bring hidden gems that would not ordinarily be accessible such as ‘Furie’ to audiences around the world. We are thrilled to partner with Well Go USA to showcase Vietnamese filmmaking at its finest. Well Go’s expertise in distributing content for the global audience makes them the perfect partner to put this Asian, female-led thriller on the cinematic map.”

“Furie” is set in modern-day Vietnam and the actors speak Vietnamese in the film. It was shot south of the Mekong River and near Ho Chi Minh City.

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In the vein of the Indonesian box office hit “The Raid,” Ngo plays an ex-gangster gangster who retired from the life of crime after the birth of her daughter. Despite lying low in the countryside, she can’t seem to escape her violent past when her daughter is kidnapped — forcing her back into the life she swore she would leave behind.

“I just wanted to do a kidnap movie — something that’s very easy to relate to,” Ngo told Variety. “It’s told from the point of view of the mother, who blames herself.”

Vietnamese native Le Van Kiet directed with veteran stuntman Kefi Abrikh. Kiet has also worked on “The Rich Woman” and “Gentle.” Abrikh’s stunt credits include “Jason Bourne” and “Lucy.”

“We’re hoping for a premiere at Berlin,” Ngo said. “The Vietnamese market is not out in the world yet. What we wanted to portray was [that there’s] a dark world right in front of you, where you can’t tell who the villains are, so we made a deliberate decision to cast non-professionals as the villains.”

Both Ngo and Kiet left Vietnam during their childhoods. Ngo was then raised in Norway and returned to Vietnam in the early 2000s to pursue acting. She starred in “House in the Alley,” “Clash,” “Once Upon a Time,” “Pearls of the Far East,” “The Tailor,” and “Rogue,” a 13-part action series produced by MTV Asia and MediaCorp. Ngo made her U.S. debut in Netflix’s “Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon: Sword of Destiny.” She gained global recognition for her brief appearance in “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” as a self-sacrificing pilot for the Resistance.

Ngo and Kiet noted that they’re hoping the film raises awareness about modern-day Vietnam.

“Vietnam is not just about the Vietnam War any more,” she noted. “There’s no mention of it in the movie.”

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