Private Project

Artist Police - Private Screener (NOT For Festivals)

A visual, told-thru-performance true life story of Vietnam's most bizarre and controversial censorship officer turned artist extraordinaire!

  • Matt Dworzanczyk
    Marlin (2009), DPRK: The Land of Whispers (2013), Love Market (2015)
  • Dao Anh Khanh
    Key Cast
    "the Artist"
  • Matt Dworzanczyk
    Marlin (2009), DPRK: The Land of Whispers (2013), Love Market (2015)
  • Matt Dworzanczyk
    Marlin (2009), DPRK: The Land of Whispers (2013), Love Market (2015)
  • Project Type:
    Documentary, Experimental, Feature
  • Genres:
    Experimental, Fantasy, Documentary, Biographic
  • Runtime:
    1 hour 17 minutes
  • Completion Date:
    April 11, 2019
  • Production Budget:
    10,000 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    Viet Nam
  • Country of Filming:
    Viet Nam
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
    HD, 4k
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
Director Biography - Matt Dworzanczyk

Born in then-communist Poland, educated in the heart of cinema industry in the USA, with his home being Vietnam, his recent base in Berlin and with work experience from all around the world - Matt is a truly international director with some two hundred film, TV and video projects behind his belt.

Matt’s roots, heart & key focus have always been in directing narrative film – but he is also an experienced producer, screenwriter, editor & shooter – well versed in documentary, commercial work and even small-scale journalism.

“Marlin“, Matt’s first film – a short, dark fairy tale went on to win the “Excellence in Filmmaking” award at Canada Int’l Film Festival.

His eye-opening North Korea documentary, “DPRK: The Land of Whispers” has been seen by some 3 million people online, winning a number of awards including “Best Feature Film” at the Third World Indie Film Festival and attracting plenty of international controversy, even resulting in death threats from North Korea.

Matt’s production of “Love Market” continued to ruffle feathers as he managed to reach deeper than even mainstream int’l media, uncovering the conspiracy behind Vietnam’s secretive Love Market and discovering a fascinating even if often harrowing world behind the legends.

His newest experimental endeavor, “Artist Pollice“, emphasizes the value of freedom by loosely portraying the true story of Vietnam’s most bizarre and controversial censorship police officer turned country’s most extravagant artist, Dao Anh Khanh.

Matt was a participant in the project Market of Hanoi’s Int’l Film Festival (ran in cooperation with Berlinale) where he developed his feature screenplay for “Baby Blue Eyes“, a fantasy drama about an infertile couple raising a plastic baby doll, which was later shortlisted for participation in both Sundance Labs and the Screenwriting Market at Berlinale.

Some of the recurring themes in Matt’s works include childhoods, sexuality, dreams, travel, social isolation, drugs and existentialism. He continues to explore those in his new narrative sci project titled “Android Red“, currently in development.

When not working – Matt likes to disappear among nature – ideally on his dear motorbike, in some faraway corner of the planet.

Add Director Biography
Director Statement

‘Artist Police’ loosely tells the true story of Dao Anh Khanh, Vietnam’s most controversial censorship police officer, who after 20 years of controlling art and artists – decided to switch sides and became Vietnam’s most famous and bizarre artist himself. But – this is just barely the surface!

From early on it was important to me that ‘Artist Police’ would not just be a film *about* Khanh or just a film *about* art. Instead – it’s always been its own, standalone art project!

Even more than it tells Khanh’s story – the film also tells MY story. It tells the universal story of anyone who’s ever struggled against control, censorship and various life’s obstacles. It tells the story of each of us who persevered, who learned and grew from these challenges and decided not to let the hardships we face become the sole definition of our existence. As such, at its core – the film explores the broad concept of freedom: be it creative, personal, sexual or political.

I spent most of my life in Vietnam and I consider the country the closest place to ‘home’. I interviewed Khanh some 8 years ago for a local TV project I was working on and we’ve since become close friends. Over the years I attended and filmed many of Khanh’s art performances. These, paired with my own experiences and ideas, later served as inspiration for ‘Artist Police’.

Khanh’s work tends to be spontaneous, improvised, evocative of feelings and experiences. My background on the other hand is all about narrative filmmaking. My work – tends to be carefully planned, structured and my primary focus is to tell a story. The film combines both our backgrounds into a creative collaboration where the scene concepts were often based on Khanh’s past work, but adapted into a completely different light, or perhaps - reinterpreted by me – for the purposes of the film.

I call ‘Artist Police’ an experimental fantasy documentary. It exists somewhere among these genres. With performance art being all about the body and the sensory experiences – I asked myself – how can I recreate this experience on screen? How can I show an ordinary location – yet at the same time - place the action in a surreal reality?

I focused on subtle movements, subtle details of the bodies. I strived to film – even the most over-photographed locations like Hanoi’s Long Bien bridge – from very fitting, yet never-before-seen perspectives. I focused on creating colorful, surreal, original characters – and I placed them in ordinary settings, forcing art and reality to clash. I’ve worked with a dedicated, international sound and music crew – to create a further sense of mystical reality rooted in quintessential sounds of Vietnam, of nature, of hardship – all combined with contemporary, surreal, experimental art elements.

To me, ‘Artist Police’ is also an exploration of the creative process of an Artist and his central influences: his parents, his lovers, his friends and his audience.

Finally – I see ‘Artist Police’ as an audio-visual puzzle. Even among my tiny, but multi-national crew – the film brought out various interpretations of its key symbolism such as “the wall”. My Berlin-based musicians – thought of it in the context of contemporary German history. My US-based sound designer – drew parallels to American politics today. To Khanh – the wall was a prison of censorship. And to me – each brick represents a personal insecurity which builds up over time. All of these are true – and each interpretation serves as just one piece of a much larger puzzle which is ‘Artist Police’.

‘Artist Police’ is a film about creative defiance. It’s a film about the often harrowing and full of sacrifices process – of developing your own voice – and using it. But… it’s also a really fun, surreal, audio-visual fantasy adventure!

- Matt Dworzanczyk / Director –