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Love in Luang Prabang: Film Festival

Fifth edition of Laos’ outdoor cinema fest unveils line-up

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.

Screening in the festival’s 800-seat outdoor main venue, “Vientiane in Love” is by Lao New Wave Cinema and four directors – 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 Kiy, 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 song-and-dance 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 favourite Ananda Everingham, and the hit GTH romance “The Teacher’s Diary”.

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.

Just lovely

The Luang Prabang Film Festival runs from December 6 to 10. All screenings and activities of the festival are free. For further information, visit Here is the festival’s feature line-up:

“3.50” by Chhay Bora
“The Missing Picture” by Rithy Panh

“Aroma of Heaven” by Budi Kurniawan
“The Jungle School” by Riri Riza
“The Mangoes” by Tonny Trimarsanto
“Streetside” by Daniel Ziv
“We Are Moluccan” by Angga Dwimas Sasongko

“My Teacher” by Niyom Wongpongkham
“Tuk-Tuk” by Simon Luang Kiy
“Really Love” by Jear Sirivongsa
“Vientiane in Love” by Vannaphone Sitthirath, Xaisongkham Induangchanthy, Phanumad Disattha and Anysay Keola

“The Boatbuilders of Mermaid Island” by Azharr Rudin and Imri Nasution
“Return to Burma” by Midi Z

“Catnip” by Kevin Dayrit
“Iskalawags” by Keith Deligero
“The Patriarch” by Borgy Torre
“Shift” by Siege Ledesma

“Ilo Ilo” by Anthony Chen
“Sayang Disayang” by Sanif Olek

“By the River” by Nontawat Numbenchapol
“Concrete Clouds” by Lee Chatametikool
“Mary Is Happy, Mary Is Happy” by Nawapol Thamrongrattanarit
“Pee Mak Phra Khanong” by Banjong Pisanthanakun
“The Songs of Rice” by Uruphong Raksasad
“The Teacher’s Diary” by Nithiwat Tharathorn

“Madam Phung’s Last Journey” by Tham Nguyen Thi
“The Talent” by Nguyen Quang Huy

Soure: The Nation