The Luang Prabang Film Festival (LPFF) announced on Friday that it will dedicate its activities in 2021 exclusively to its annual Lao Filmmakers Fund and a celebration of the Lao film industry. The fund, which is the only publicly available support for Lao film projects in the country, has since 2013 provided direct funding for productions.
In 2020, LPFF’s first-ever virtual festival was free for the ten-country region from December 4 – 10 and showcased 24 features and 10 short films, with one film, kOsOng (Indonesia, 2020) premiering during the event.
“We were proud to have been able to present the festival across Southeast Asia for the first time,” said LPFF Executive Director Sean Chadwell. “Thousands of people streamed movies, and it was amazing to be able to share that experience with them.”
This year, though, LPFF is “looking to the heart of its mission” in planning for the rest of the year, says Chadwell. The organization is also at work organizing a three-day event to showcase Lao film in Luang Prabang in early December.
“At our core, we’re about supporting the development of Lao film and enabling domestic artists to share their stories. Given the economic challenges of the pandemic, we realized it makes a lot more sense to channel resources that normally would have gone into producing an international event directly into the local filmmaking community instead.”
Chadwell added that LPFF hopes to increase the pool of funding for the Lao Filmmakers Fund through sponsors for the planned December event. In addition to outdoor evening screenings and other activities for the public, the LPFF will offer workshops for filmmakers and industry pros at all levels and recognize Lao Filmmakers Fund recipients at a special presentation.
The annual call for applications to the Lao Filmmakers Fund launched on 19 July. With support from the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) and The Asia Foundation, both in Vientiane, and the Heinrich Böll Foundation in Bangkok, filmmakers are invited to request up to $10,000 USD in support of Laos-based productions.
Since 2009, LPFF has been exclusively devoted to Southeast Asian film, and that hasn’t changed, Chadwell says. “We’re taking advantage of the down time to build new North American partnerships for our Talent Lab, and we look forward to seeing filmmakers from across the region here in Luang Prabang as soon as we’re able to travel safely again.”
To read more about the Luang Prabang Film Festival, visit lpfilmfest.org.