The Luang Prabang Film Festival (LPFF) has announced that its ninth annual event will take place on 7-12 December 2018. The festival, which celebrates Southeast Asian cinema every December in the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Luang Prabang, Laos, will feature a range of feature film screenings, short film programs, public discussions, and events.
This year’s Spotlight will focus on the Indonesian film industry. Curated by KOLEKTIF Project Manager Gayatri Nadya, the program will offer audiences a full day of programming and lively discussion from leading Indonesian film experts and filmmakers. Recent years have seen a cinematic resurgence from this territory as it opens to more foreign investors, builds more theatres, and continuously breaks its own box office records. New and exciting Indonesian talent has emerged, making a notable impact on the international festival circuit with a fresh vision that has won high praise from critics and audiences alike. This December, LPFF will bring to the screen a strong selection of these films, exposing audiences to some of the best examples of this new wave of creativity from Indonesia.
Along with the announcement of the festival’s dates, LPFF has also released the visual identity for this year’s festival, which takes inspiration from vintage travel posters in support of Visit Laos Year 2018. The main design features a chic Southeast Asian filmmaker location scouting in Luang Prabang during the festival. Once again, this concept was executed by the very talented Manilla Chounlamountri, Art Director of the Vientiane-based MeIdea Full Service Agency.
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“We feel a lot of pressure to top our previous years’ graphics, and we’re confident that our designer has, somehow, accomplished it once again,” said Festival Director Gabriel Kuperman. “I love all the references within the visual- you have the throwback travel poster feel, the empowered female filmmaker (that we see many of at our event), the backdrop of this gorgeous little town with its mixture of traditional Lao and colonial French architecture, and of course, there’s our intimate festival stuck in there so naturally.”
Last year’s festival welcomed over 22,000 attendees to its screenings, Q&As with filmmakers, panel discussions, and live performances that go beyond the screen to include dance, theater, and live music. This year’s audiences are expected to grow even larger, as the Luang Prabang Film Festival solidifies itself as one of the largest international events in Laos, and one of the most important film events in the region.
However, despite its size, LPFF manages to maintain the intimacy that attendees have grown to love. At the 2017 festival, 23 of the festival’s 32 feature films had directors or producers on hand to speak to audiences after screenings of their films, both in groups and one-on-one.
LPFF has also made its mark in the region in regards to its Southeast Asian artist development programs. Last year’s Talent Lab, led by the Tribeca Film Institute®, provided training on grantwriting and project pitching to ten different projects from around the region. After an open pitch forum, Raising a Beast, written and directed by the Lao filmmaker Xaisongkham Induangchanthy, and produced by Filipina Abigail Lazaro, was selected by a jury to attend the TFI Network Market at the 2018 Tribeca Film Festival®. Hosted annually by TFI, the industry market gives filmmakers the opportunity to build connections with a wide range of industry insiders who can potentially help them advance their projects. TFI set up dozens of meetings with producers, post-production houses, editors, and financiers for the Raising a Beast team, and will also mentor them through the completion of their project. All participants in last year’s Talent Lab will also receive preferential consideration for any of TFI’s grants. This Talent Lab will take place again at December’s festival, and will be expanded to three days.
Additionally, LPFF will hold a masterclass on screenwriting, as well as a weeklong workshop on animation, organized in partnership with the American Film Showcase.
All festival events are open to the public and free of charge, and visitors can go easily between the main venues on foot or via LPFF’s complimentary tuk-tuk shuttle service.
LPFF is funded by corporate sponsors, non-governmental organizations, embassies, and private donors.