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‘The Third Wife’ Nominated for 3 Independent Spirit Awards

The controversial film got nods for Best Cinematography and Best Editing, while director Ash Mayfair was nominated as ‘someone to watch.’

The Film Independent Spirit Awards are given out by non-profit group Film Independent and aim to “champion creative independence in visual storytelling and support a community of artists who embody diversity, innovation and uniqueness of vision.”

Since 1984, the awards have recognized films that are deemed “independent” according to criteria including budget, financing, vision and “original, provocative subject matter.” Winners, which will be announced at an awards ceremony in Santa Monica, California on February 8, 2020, are selected by a group of filmmakers, industry leaders and cinema enthusiasts.

The Third Wife premiered in Vietnam on May 17, 2019 but was pulled from theaters days later at the request of the film’s producers amidst controversy surrounding the age of the main actress, who were included in some racy scenes. Focused on a traditional family in the 19th century and filmed in Ninh Binh, the movie was praised for the lushness of its scenery and exploration of themes including female sexuality and women’s’ roles in a patriarchal society, and marriage during a time when polygyny was still common practice. 

Despite its limited run in Vietnam, it was screened in cinemas and at festivals throughout the world, eventually grossing US$302,000 and strong reviews in top international publications. The film has been nominated for numerous awards, including many for director Ash Mayfair. The Vietnamese-born and western-educated Mayfair received the Gold Hugo in the Best New Director category at the Chicago International Film Festival Awards earlier this year. 

In addition to The Third Wife, Vietnamese-American actress Hong Chau was nominated for Best Leading Actress for her role in Driveways. Chau is best known for her role in the film Downsizing, for which she was nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Supporting actress.

[Top photo via Variety

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