Monday, March 28, 2016

Luang Prabang fest set for December 2-7 with Philippines in the Spotlight

Big crowd for films in the Handicraft Market. LPFF photo.

The dates have been set for the seventh edition of the Luang Prabang Film Festival, which will run from December 2 to 7 in Luang Prabang, the World Heritage Site former royal capital of the Lao PDR. It's a chance to catch up on Southeast Asian films and nothing but Southeast Asian films in a unique and memorable setting.

Francis X Pasion at last year's LPFF.
Photo by Wise Kwai.
This year, the festival plans a Spotlight on the Philippines. The choice is a bittersweet one, since it comes after the death of Filipino director Francis Xavier Pasion, who was at last year's Luang Prabang fest with his well-made and gripping social drama Bwaya (Crocodile). He died on March 6 at age 38, the victim of an apparent heart attack.

Film blogger Oggs Cruz, who serves as the Luang Prabang Film Fest's "Motion Picture Ambassador" for the Philippines, recently reflected on his "final conversation" with Pasion.

The LPFF initiated the Spotlight section last year, devoting a whole day at the festival's daytime venue to Cambodian films. It was a good addition to the festival's regular programming.

"On the back of this great success, LPFF has decided to turn its Spotlight this year to the Philippines. Not only will new works be shown, but a wide-shot perspective on some of the great influences of the past will be included," says the festival's press release. "As one of the region’s most vibrant and prolific industries, this Spotlight on the Philippines will give audiences a lot to talk about."

Programming suggestions come from the Luang Prabang Film Festival's network of "Motion Picture Ambassadors". In addition to Oggs, the others are Sok Visal from Cambodia, Lulu Ratna from Indonesia, Somsanouk Mixay from Laos, Amir Muhammad from Malaysia, Thaiddhi from Myanmar, Aishah Abu Bakar from Singapore, Kong Rithdee from Thailand and Cát Khuê from Vietnam.

They have already submitted their recommendations for this year’s festival, and so the selection process will begin shortly, say the LPFF organizers.

In addition to a line-up of around 30 features, the LPFF will present short films in various venues throughout the historic city, hold industry-focused panel talks and masterclasses and entertain with nightly performances of dance and music.

For more details, check the festival website or Facebook page.

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