Friday, May 23, 2014

Cannes 2014: Somebody's got to pay for those buckets of blood

A representative of Laos' emergent film industry, director Mattie Do, is on the sidelines of the Cannes Film Festival, schmoozing her way around town as she hunts for cash to make a movie.

Taking part in La Fabrique Les Cinemas du Monde, a market event and masterclass for first- and second-time feature directors, she landed a deal with crowdfunding website in partnership with the gorehounds who run Her campaign video is on Vimeo, but I can't get the embed link to work.

Mattie needs cash to buy buckets of blood from her local fresh market in Vientiane, as well as other supplies, to make her sophomore feature, Dearest Sister (Nong Hak). It's about a poor country girl who comes to the city to help her rich cousin, a blind girl who gets lottery numbers from the dead.

Produced by Douangmany Soliphanh and Lao Art Media, Dearest Sister is also supported by Lao Brewing Company, which explains why Mattie has been flogging Beerlao Gold up and down the Croisette in Cannes.

Her film is the follow-up to Chanthaly, a slow-burn ghost thriller that made history for being the first Lao horror movie and the first Lao feature directed by a woman. After premiering at 2012's Luang Prabang Film Festival, it went on to screen at the Fantastic Fest in Austin, Texas, becoming the first Lao film to screen anywhere outside of Southeast Asia.

For fans who support the IndieGoGo campaign, Mattie has an array of amusing premiums to offer. For example, for $10, she'll personally buy you a Lao lottery ticket. If you win, she'll send you a stack of kip – Lao currency that is absolutely worthless outside of Laos. And if you lose, you can join the production's Instagram and follow the progress there. For $100, you get a confiscated bootleg DVD of Chanthaly - Mattie will personally lick the stamps to mail it you. If you give $1,000, you can work as a production assistant, and wrangle those buckets of blood. Contributors of $5,000 can act in the film - "be a skeevy sex tourist" - you'll have to pay your own way to Bangkok, however.

Keep track of the production by "liking" the film's Facebook page.

(Cross-published in The Nation)

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