Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Spotlight on Cambodia at sixth Luang Prabang Film Festival

The outdoor main venue of the Luang Prabang Film Festival hosts nightly screenings. Photo courtesy of LPFF.

The Luang Prabang Film Festival returns for its sixth edition from December 5 to 9, in the Unesco World Heritage former royal capital of Laos, with a selection of movies from across Southeast Asia.

Highlights this year will include a new "Spotlight" program, which focuses on Cambodia. There are workshops and talks planned, with local and foreign filmmakers lending their expertise.

In addition, the festival this year coincides with the 20th anniversary of Luang Prabang's listing as a Unesco World Heritage site.

The fest will also take place during the Elephant Caravan, which will see a team of 12 elephants marching into the city, accompanied by artists and performers in a campaign to raise awareness about the plight of the pachyderms in Laos and elsewhere in Southeast Asia.

Films include a mix of hard-hitting documentaries, such as The Act of Killing and its companion piece The Look of Silence from Indonesia, edgy indie features like Thailand's Village of Hope and Malaysia's Men Who Save the World, to crowd-pleasing commercial hits, such as Thailand's I Fine Thank You Love You and the Lao comedy Really Love 2. There's also offbeat docs, such as The Cambodian Space Project and The Search for Weng Weng.

Some films will be shown outdoors, while others can be seen during the day at the indoor venue, which is the same as last year, the Hotel de la Paix, now branded the Sofitel Luang Prabang.

Here's the line-up:

  • Above it All (Laos)
  • The Act of Killing (Indonesia)
  • The Cambodian Space Project (Cambodia)
  • Crocodile (Philippines)
  • Dandelion (Vietnam)
  • Flapping in the Middle of Nowhere (Vietnam)
  • Gems on the Run (Cambodia)
  • Hanuman (Cambodia)
  • I Fine Thank You Love You (Thailand)
  • I Love You! (Laos)
  • The Last Executioner (Thailand)
  • The Last Reel (Cambodia)
  • The Look of Silence (Indonesia)
  • Mariquina (Philippines)
  • Men Who Saved the World (Malaysia)
  • The Monk (Myanmar)
  • Ms J Contemplates Her Choice (Singapore)
  • My Teacher (Laos)
  • Pu Bao Tai Ban – Isaan Indy (Thailand)
  • Really Love 2 (Laos)
  • The Search for Weng Weng (Philippines)
  • The Second Life of Thieves (Malaysia)
  • Siti (Indonesia)
  • Slam! (Singapore)
  • Somboon (Thailand)
  • Still I Strive (Cambodia)
  • That Thing Called Meant-To-Be (Philippines)
  • Village of Hope (Thailand)

Special Work Print Previews:

  • Dearest Sister (Laos)
  • River (Laos)

Here's more from the festival press release that goes out today:

In addition to LPFF’s feature film screenings, LPFF will also have multiple short film programs, including selections from the Cambodian Chaktomuk Short Film Festival, and the short film competition from the Laos-based Vientianale.

LPFF is also pleased to present a collection of 21 videos and three animated films, featuring ethnic minority women in Laos telling traditional folktales. This project, which documents intangible cultural heritage, was produced by LPFF and the Traditional Arts and Ethnology Centre, with a grant from the US State Department.

There will also be three major public discussions this year for visitors of the festival:

  • The Lao Department of Cinema will host a seminar on encouraging foreign film production and co-production in Laos. This panel will include guest speakers filmmakers Mattie Do (Chanthaly;, Dearest Sister) and Anousone Sirisackda (Sabaidee Luang Prabang), who will discuss their own 2015 international co-productions. Audiences will be treated to special work prints previews of these films, Dearest Sister and River, at LPFF’s open-air Night Venue.
  • Celebrated Cambodian filmmaker Sok Visal (Gems on the Run) will introduce LPFF’s “Spotlight” program this year with “Spotlight on Cambodia,” an entire day devoted to screenings and discussion of Cambodian features and shorts, showcasing the nation’s exciting and rapid development in film production.
  • Veteran Hollywood filmmaker Stephen Lim (Born on the Fourth of July, Inside Job) will lead a discussion on the integral role of the producer in film production, including how to maximize resources, managing expectations, as well as budgeting, scheduling, and other preparation work.

Over half of the festival’s films have already confirmed the attendance of their directors and/or producers. These filmmakers will participate in numerous festival events, including post-screening Q-and-As at the LPFF Day Venue, Sofitel Luang Prabang.

LPFF will offer live evening performances on its main stage before headline screenings. Notably, LPFF will welcome famed French guitarist Jo Dihan and the Elephant Caravan artisans, the top three winning teams of this year’s Vientiane-based Urban Youth Dance competition, and a performance by the annual Fang Mae Khong international dance festival.

On display will be a new limited edition typology-style portfolio from the lauded Southeast Asia Movie Theater Project, accompanied by a presentation by the initiative’s founder, Philip Jablon.

All screenings and activities of the festival are free and open to the public.

With a newly-opened bottling plant in Laos, Coca-Cola is the festival’s biggest sponsor once again this year, having also made a generous donation to LPFF’s Lao Filmmakers Fund, a publicly-generated fund that allows filmmakers in Laos to apply for grants to help realize their film projects.

Other major supporters of the 2015 festival are Beerlao Gold, the US Embassy, the Asia Foundation, Exo Travel, Chillax Productions, the Nam Theun 2 Power Company, and Lao Airlines.

This year’s festival coincides with the celebrations of the 20th anniversary of Luang Prabang’s UNESCO World Heritage status. The week also marks the arrival of the much-anticipated Elephant Caravan, a convoy of 20 elephants marching to bring attention to the plight of elephants in Laos and throughout Asia. LPFF is in collaboration with both of these projects and looks forward to an exceptional week of entertainment in Luang Prabang!

To book a trip to the Luang Prabang Film Festival, please contact Exo Travel at laos@exotravel.com. As LPFF’s Official Travel Partner, Exo Travel has exclusive access to preferential rates with Lao Airlines and LPFF’s Hotel Partners (listed on the LPFF website). Furthermore, booking with Exo Travel directly supports LPFF, as a percentage of each booking goes back to the project.

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