DTU Releases the First Swallows Documentary

The first episode in a series of Vietnamese aerial war films, “The First Swallows”, premiered at the Danang CGV Vincom theater on the evening of April 26. The movie revived the air battle which took place at the Ham Rong Bridge in Thanh Hoa province on April 4, 1965. This historic documentary is a not-for-profit project developed by the DTU Silver Swallows Studio. 

  Ð?i h?c Duy Tân ra m?t phim “Nh?ng cánh én d?u tiên”
“The First Swallows” premiere press conference 

The Vietnam’s People’s Air Force fought the Battle of the Thanh Hoa Bridge against US Air Force and Navy aircraft. The Vietnamese Red Star fighter regiment jets were piloted by Tran Hanh, number one, with plane registration 2316; Pham Giay, number two, in 2410; Le Minh Huan, number three, in 2412; and Tran Nguyen Nam, number four, in 2416.

The movie has two parts. The first recounts the event through the words of the only surviving pilot and other witnesses. The second part faithfully and vividly recreates the aerial battle, using the latest cinematic techniques.

After receiving their orders, the squadron took off from Noi Bai airport and flew in formation southward along National Route 1, over Phu Ly. When they reached the Do Len Bridge, they turned left to fly out over the sea. Then, nearing the area of the battle, they quickly gained altitude for a tactical advantage. Squadron leader Hanh sighted a group of F-105 bombers ready to strike the bridge and immediately attacked. The battle was over in an instant and two of the American F-105s were shot down, despite their size and more advanced technology.

In the battle that ensued with the escorting F-100D planes, Le Minh Huan crashed near the Sam Son beach with a hit to the tail and the two others, piloted by Pham Giay and Tran Nguyen Nam, went down for unknown reasons. Tran Hanh attempted to shake off the F-100Ds but his MiG-17 ran out of fuel, developed a broken compass and forced him to land in a dry stream in the Ke Tam hamlet, in the Quynh Chau district of Nghe An province.

  Ð?i h?c Duy Tân ra m?t phim “Nh?ng cánh én d?u tiên”
Dr. Le Nguyen Bao, DTU Provost and the Film Director 

Dr. Le Nguyen Bao, DTU Provost and Director of the movie, said: “While studying in the US, I saw several documentaries about the war with the US Air Force, in 3D. However, they only showed Vietnamese planes being shot down. With my national pride and a passion for history, technology and aircraft, I started looking nationwide for a skilled team of filmmakers to realize my project. Finally, The First Swallows was released after being in production for several years. The First Swallows documentary is a not-for-profit project developed by the DTU Silver Swallows Studio, with the objective of reminding younger generations about the determination of the wartime soldiers to restore peace and independence to Vietnam, despite the overwhelming loss of lives and sacrifices involved.”

“With great dedication, the Silver Swallows Studio team went through each event and each frame to recreate the fiercest moments in the fight between the Vietnam People’s Air Force and the US Air Force and Navy,” explained the Editor and Camera Operator Thai Bao Long. “Firstly we had to come up with a concept for the project and then write the script. However, we had to make a really careful selection of the historical documentation, to guarantee accuracy and faithfulness. Next, we filmed interviews with former pilots, journalists, and researchers, to gather more information to improve the script, we created 3D aircraft models, drew 3D landscapes and filmed actors playing pilots. Finally, we had to put all documentation and scenes together with 3ds Max, to create images and render them in Maya to finish off The First Swallows.”

Victory must always be paid for in tears and blood, through the sacrifice of compatriots, such as Pham Giay, Tran Nguyen Nam, and Le Minh Huan. The premiere caught everyone’s attention.

   Ð?i h?c Duy Tân ra m?t phim “Nh?ng cánh én d?u tiên”
Captain Nguyen Ba Hai of Hai Au Aviation at the premiere 

Captain Nguyen Ba Hai of Hai Au Aviation said “Let me extend my heartfelt thanks to DTU and the DTU Silver Swallows Studio for reviving these heroic moments and propagating our national pride to the younger generation. I must say that, if the victory of April 3 and 4, 1965 was a first monument for the Vietnam Air Force, then this movie, “The First Swallows” will be a second in the history of aviation filmography”. “I am also a pilot, so I understand well the noble missions and the losses and the sacrifices that air force pilots go through. I was honestly very touched by this movie.”

Contributing to keeping the memory of the victory of April 4, 1965 alive, the First Swallows will remind young people of the resolve of the fighters and of their gratitude to their forefathers.
(Media center) 

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