Saturday, September 6, 2014

Vientiane in Love premiere set for 2014 line-up of Luang Prabang Film Festival

Vientiane in Love is one of four Lao films in the fest.
The world premiere of Vientiane in Love, an omnibus romance by four Lao directors, will open the fifth edition of the Luang Prabang Film Festival, set for December 6 to 10 in the Unesco World Heritage former royal capital of Laos.

Screening on the main screen in the festival's 800-seat outdoor main venue, Vientiane in Love is by four directors from Lao New Wave Cinema, Vannaphone Sitthirath, Xaisongkham Induangchanthy, Phanumad Disattha and Anysay Keola, who made his debut in 2012 with the thriller At the Horizon.

Three other features from Laos' newly emergent film industry will also screen – Really Love by Jear Sirivongsa, which had a successful theatrical run in Laos, Tuk-Tuk by the Lao-French director Simon Luang Kiyé, and the Lao-Thai co-production by My Teacher, by Thai director Niyom Wongpongkham.

Celebrating the best in Southeast Asian cinema, the festival will feature works by such well-known auteurs as Cambodia's Rithy Panh, and his Oscar-nominated autobiographical documentary The Missing Picture, and Indonesia's Riri Riza, whose latest is The Jungle School. Also from Cambodia is Chhay Bora's new film, the drama 3.50, in which a documentary filmmaker tries to rescue a girl sold into prostitution.

Other festival highlights are the crowd-pleasing Thai hits Pee Mak Phra Khanong and Mary Is Happy, Mary Is Happy and Singapore's Cannes Golden Camera winner Ilo Ilo.

Documentaries include the coffee-infused Aroma of Heaven from Indonesia, the Thai environmental disaster of By the River, The Boatbuilders of Mermaid Island from Malaysia, and The Songs of Rice, an explosive music-and-dance-laden look at the festivals that accompany rice cultivation in Thailand.

Vietnamese offerings include the award-winning musical The Talent by first-time director Nguyen Quang Huy, which won six Golden Kites, including best feature, the country's top film award.

Among the Filipino films is the crime drama The Patriarch, romance with Shift, coming-of-age drama in Catnip and young-punk adventures in Iskawalags.

Myanmar is represented by Midi Z and his partly autobiographical coming-home drama Return to Burma.

Other Thai features include Lee Chatametikool's Concrete Clouds, starring Lao-Australian leading man and festival favorite Ananda Everingham, and the hit GTH romance The Teacher's Diary.

All screenings and activities of the festival are free and open to the public. Selected by LPFF's Motion Picture Ambassadors (film experts in each of the participating countries), the feature films in the 2014 festival will be:

  • 3.50, directed by Chhay Bora, Cambodia
  • Aroma of Heaven, directed by Budi Kurniawan, Indonesia
  • The Boatbuilders of Mermaid Island, directed by Azharr Rudin and Imri Nasution, Malaysia
  • By the River, directed by Nontawat Numbenchapol, Thailand
  • Catnip, directed by Kevin Dayrit, Philippines
  • Concrete Clouds, directed by Lee Chatametikool, Thailand
  • Ilo Ilo, directed by Anthony Chen, Singapore
  • Iskalawags, directed by Keith Deligero, Philippines
  • The Jungle School, directed by Riri Riza, Indonesia
  • Madam Phung’s Last Journey, directed by Tham Nguyen Thi, Vietnam
  • The Mangoes, directed by Tonny Trimarsanto, Indonesia
  • Mary Is Happy, Mary Is Happy, directed by Nawapol Thamrongrattanarit, Thailand
  • The Missing Picture, directed by Rithy Panh, Cambodia
  • My Teacher, Niyom Wongpongkham, Laos
  • The Patriarch, directed by Borgy Torre, Philippines
  • Pee Mak Phrakanong, directed by Banjong Pisanthanakun, Thailand
  • Really Love, directed by Jear Sirivongsa, Laos
  • Return to Burma, directed by Midi Z, Myanmar
  • Sayang Disayang, directed by Sanif Olek, Singapore
  • Shift, directed by Siege Ledesma, Philippines
  • The Songs of Rice, directed by Uruphong Raksasad, Thailand
  • Streetside, directed by Daniel Ziv, Indonesia
  • The Teacher’s Diary, directed by Nithiwat Tharathorn, Thailand
  • The Talent, directed by Nguyen Quang Huy, Vietnam
  • Tuk-Tuk, directed by Simon Luang Kiyé, Laos
  • Vientiane in Love, directed by Vannaphone Sitthirath, Xaisongkham Induangchanthy, Phanumad Disattha and Anysay Keola, Laos
  • We Are Moluccan, directed by Angga Dwimas Sasongko, Indonesia

In addition to these feature film screenings, LPFF will have short films, including all 18 entries from DocNet Southeast Asia's second ChopShots fest. Short-film competition entries from Laos' other film festival, the Vientianale, will also be shown.

As always, LPFF will create a space for regional film professionals and fans to network, dialogue and encourage local film production. There will be panel discussions, question-and-answer sessions, music, dance and puppetry performances.

Festival-goers can expect an update on the Southeast Asia Movie Theater Project (the director of which will be speaking later this month at TEDx in Chiang Mai), as well as other film-related exhibitions.

In an exciting new partnership, representatives of leading Thai theater chain Major Cineplex will be in attendance and one of the festival’s films may be selected for theatrical distribution.

Coca-Cola is one of the festival’s biggest sponsors once again this year, having also made a very 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. This year, filmmakers are able to request up to US$10,000 in support.

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