Bringing CLE to the Big Screen

By Le Nguyen Gia Thien, BABSEACLE Fellow,

University of Economics and Law, Viet Nam

We have been working hard to introduce CLE into Vietnamese universities and we were incredibly fortunate to be able to work with The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to achieve our goal. In order to document the growth of CLE in Viet Nam, we decided to make a DVD. The DVD was used as a tool to review and record all the activities that we are doing in Viet Nam. The production of this DVD was funded by the UNPD.

With the help of BABSEACLE Directors Bruce and Wendy and other law experts, we created a questionnaire to use as a basic interview format. Then we set about contacting organizations, institutions and law faculties to ask as many people as possible if we could film them. We contacted a wide spectrum of people, such as international experts, lecturers, supervisors, coordinators and students. Then, with the help of DocLab – a documentary production company in Hanoi – we learned how to record and how to edit. We owe a big thanks to them for all their kind help and support.

After a lot of hard work and long hours, we finally had our DVD. The end result is a 20-minute documentary that gives a general introduction to the CLE project in Viet Nam, the work of BABSEACLE, and what we have achieved so far. The DVD shows Vietnamese law students, law graduates, law professors and lawyers talking about how important working in a CLE program has been to them; it shows students talking about teaching in a migrant worker community in Hanoi and it shows workers talking about what they learned. The DVD features interviews with important people who helped put CLE forward in Viet Nam, including Nick Booth of UNDP and Bruce Lasky of BABSEACLE and interviews with law deans like Dr. Le Vu Nam (University of Economics and Law) and Dr. Doan Duc Luong (Hue University) about what we need to do to help it grow.

Our DVD had its “premiere” at the National Conference at the Trade Union University in late August. Many Law professors from all over Vietnam attended this conference and we believe the DVD helped them to understand CLE – and we hope the experience will make them want to be a part of it. Furthermore, the DVD helped us find potential partners who are interested in working on our CLE project: Da Lat University, Hanoi Open University and others. So producing this DVD was a learning experience for our team, one that helped us demonstrate the growth of CLE in Viet Nam and that will help BABSEACLE promote the growth of CLE in Viet Nam in the future.

Having an informational/educational tool to introduce CLE is just one advantage to making the DVD. While making it, we learned to make careful preparations; we recorded a lot of material over more than six months and along the way we built good relationships with core partners who were helping us. We had a good team who always worked and collaborated well together with high enthusiasm.

We also came across some challenges while making the DVD. Due to our lack of expertise and experience in translation, video recording things and making transcripts often took longer than we expected. We also had to make difficult decisions: it was difficult to show all the activities we wanted to show in only 20 minutes, and it was difficult to decide which footage to include and which to leave out.

Making this DVD was really an achievement for everyone involved (you will have to watch it and see the long list of credits at the end!). None of us had ever done anything like this before, certainly not on such a grand scale, but everyone pulled together and we produced a fantastic documentary. We hope it will be an important tool that helps the CLE movement in Viet Nam continue to grow.

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