Art Works: Cong Nguyen

Interview: LeftLion
Thursday 20 June 2019
reading time: min, words

This film poster is bound to give you the creeps...


My childhood was mostly spent at the table, drawing and redrawing characters acting out a story on a piece of white cardboard – cardboard wouldn’t tear like paper under my worn eraser head. Much to my parents’ dismay, I decided to study animation and screenwriting, which is where I learnt about storyboarding. I took interest instantly, as it’s the perfect marriage between drawing and storytelling. It became my main business when I graduated from my MA and began working as a freelancer.  

This poster was created for the upcoming feature film Witch West by Hidden Door Productions, directed by Jane Gull. The film is based on a true story set in the height of the witch hunt in England. As I read the synopsis from the producer, I was drawn to the 'swimming test' - floating means guilty -  and it immediately put into my head the image of a floating girl. I came up with a few different compositions drawn from my research, and after a brief discussion, the director brought up the idea of the girl staring straight at the viewer, which works wonderfully.

The general feedback I get from my friends and connections is very positive. As I work mostly in independent film, my biggest problem is a problem that many other independent filmmakers share – budget constraints. More often than not, clients come to me with a limited budget, which limits the time I have to work on the storyboard or poster. The challenge then is to find a way to strike that ‘Goldilock’ balance between quality and turnaround. However I am given more freedom to experiment and to take things in a more illustrative approach, different from mainstream trends. People in the industry do notice and appreciate what they call an “independent feel” in my work, for which I am very grateful.

Cong Nguyen website

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