Hanh Trinh (The Journey), a short film by Vietnamese-American director Cuong Ngo, was released in cinemas one June 1, marking International Children's Day.

The film, featuring the life and dreams of a rural girl with a congenital heart defect, aims to raise funds for Heartbeat Vietnam, a programme of the VinaCapital Foundation that helps poor children in need of heart surgery.

The idea for Hanh Trinh originated from the real life story of Cao Hung Vy, a boy from the Tay Nguyen (Central Highlands) province of Gia Lai, who was born with a serious congenital heart defect, said the film's producer, actor and singer Ngo Thanh Van.

"Vy's family had no money to get him a surgery, which costs 2,500 USD, in order to survive and lead a normal life.

"Vy's mother and he set out on a journey from their hometown to HCM City , hoping to find help. They met our programme's members by chance, and the boy received his second chance at life," said Van, ambassador for Heartbeat Vietnam .

Based on Vy's story, Hanh Trinh sends a message of love and compassion that bind people together.

"Our film is for 20,000 children in Vietnam who are waiting for heart surgeries," said Van after the film's premiere in HCM City on Friday. She also appears in the film.

The 30-minute film stars Nhu Quynh and young actress Lan Ngoc.

On a cinema forum, a fan in HCM City recently wrote: "Hanh Trinh is short but left a strong impression on audiences, thanks to a meaningful story, perfect images and music. It was like a song in praise of the inner strength of people."

All proceeds from the film's ticket sales will be sent directly to Heartbeat.

Since 2006, Heartbeat has saved over 2,700 children. This year the programme has on its waiting list over 1,000 children considered critically ill and in need of urgent surgery.-VNA