The Luang Prabang Film Festival (LPFF) has announced its line-up for this year’s edition, including the world premiere of Lao omnibus Vientiane In Love, which opens the festival on December 6.
Produced by Lao New Wave Cinema, Vientiane In Love comprises five short films about love in the capital of Laos, directed by four up-and-coming filmmakers in Laos’ nascent film industry – Vannaphone Sitthirath, Anysay Keola, Xaisongkham Induangchanthy and Phanumad Disattha.
Lao New Wave previously produced thriller At The Horizon, which was one of the first commercial films to emerge from Laos in recent years. The festival will also screen the rest of Laos’ feature film output over the past year, including My Teacher, Really Love and Tuk Tuk.
The festival has also struck a partnership with Thai exhibitor Major Cineplex, which has opened theatres in Cambodia and is looking to expand into Laos. Major Cineplex execs will attend LPFF and select one of the festival’s films for theatrical distribution.
In addition, Coca-Cola, one of the festival’s biggest sponsors, has donated to the Lao Filmmakers Fund, which offers support to Lao filmmakers of up to $10,000.
The rest of the festival’s programme comprises a selection of recent Southeast Asian films, including Thailand’s Concrete Clouds and Teachers’ Diary, Cambodia’s The Missing Picture and Singapore’s Ilo Ilo (see full line-up below).
“We don’t have competition sections or prizes, as we prefer to think of the festival as a ‘celebration’ of the region’s finest cinema,” said LPFF founder and director Gabriel Kuperman.
The films are selected by LPFF’s “Motion Picture Ambassadors” in each country. “These film experts from each of the Southeast Asian nations recommend to us the best films made in their respective countries over the past couple of years, and our small selection committee decides on most cohesive collection of those recommendations. In this way, we are fortunate to have input from all of the film industries that we showcase,” Kuperman said.
The festival will also screen a programme of short films, including all 18 Southeast Asian documentaries from DocNet’s second ChopShots collection, along with selections from Vientianale’s short film competition. The programme, which runs until December 10, will also feature panel discussions, Q&As with the filmmakers, concerts, exhibitions and evening performances of dance and traditional arts.
Luang Prabang is a UNESCO World Heritage site in northen Laos.
The festival’s main evening venue is an open-air market, renovated by UNESCO, in the centre of Luang Prabang, which seats 800 and regularly has audiences of up to 1,000. Smaller daytime venues include screening spaces in hotels, cafes and shops.
LPFF 2014 FULL LINE-UP:
Aroma of Heaven (Indonesia)
The Boatbuilders of Mermaid Island (Malaysia)
By the River (Thailand)
Concrete Clouds (Thailand)
Ilo Ilo (Singapore)
The Jungle School (Indonesia)
Madam Phung’s Last Journey (Vietnam)
The Mangoes (Indonesia)
Mary is Happy, Mary is Happy (Thailand)
The Missing Picture (Cambodia)
My Teacher (Laos)
The Patriarch (Philippines)
Pee Mak Phrakanong (Thailand)
Really Love (Laos)
Return to Burma (Myanmar)
Sayang Disayang (Singapore)
The Songs of Rice (Thailand)
Teacher’s Diary (Thailand)
The Talent (Vietnam)
Tuk Tuk (Laos)
Vientiane in Love (Laos)
We are Moluccan (Indonesia)