Dien Vo

Dien Vo

Instructor - Cinema Production

Dien is an independent filmmaker who teaches cinema in the School of Performing Arts. His interests include cinema production, audio production, art cinema, and fiction films.  Outside of film, he also has interests in sociology, critical theory, and aesthetics.

Contact Me

(540) 231-7842
251E Henderson Hall
195 Alumni Mall (0141)
Blacksburg, VA 24061

Areas of Expertise

  • Filmmaking/Cinema Production
  • Digital Cinema Technologies
  • Art Cinema
  • Narrative Cinema
  • Scriptwriting

Education & Training

  • M.F.A. with Distinction, State University of New York at Buffalo
  • B.A., City University of New York - Hunter College

What gives you the most satisfaction as a teacher?

As a teacher, I’m most satisfied when I sense that students are connecting with themselves, others, and their craft in a way where they can actualize their potential for moving and communicating with people expressively.  

I see my work as artistic development.  I’m always excited to see when students are obsessed with what they do; when empathy is really at work as they try to connect with audiences and anticipate their responses; when there’s self-questioning and revision; when there’s emotional honesty and risk-taking in making oneself vulnerable to criticism; and most importantly, when students use their work as a way to express ideas of personal, social, and philosophical significance to them.  

That’s all very different from solely perfecting a technique, skill, or producing purely clever and entertaining work.

When do you first remember making the decision to go into the arts?

I don’t think you choose the arts the way you choose a career, a house, or your wardrobe. I would guess that a person's gravitation to the arts is probably entangled with the rest of their life somehow, along with the interests and concerns they’ve accumulated.  I don’t feel that it’s in any way unproductive to choose and reject these decisions constantly.  You might be obsessed with your work one day, and then perhaps completely disown it the next - or maybe you’ll find yourself being drawn away by other interests as new passions take over.  

I think good art-making is the result of allowing yourself to be fully immersed or subjected to all kinds of experiences (new, old, pleasurable or not) and even letting go of your work and career from time to time.  For me, I’ve found that if the arts are part of who you are, you'll inevitably find yourself coming back to some kind work when you can no longer hold back the need to express something to other people; it’s not necessarily a decision or career choice.

Name a film that has influenced you and that you would recommend to others.

Three Colors: Red (Trois Couleurs: Rouge): It's a beautiful harmony between soul, intellect, and craft.

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