Celebrating Stories on Film: Luang Prabang Film Festival

Celebrating Stories on Film:
Luang Prabang Film Festival

Luang Prabang is full of stories. Textiles, temples, ceremonies, rituals and conversations convey stories of Lao culture. As Lao culture evolves, film is emerging as a contemporary medium for storytelling, and the Luang Prabang Film Festival is at the forefront of nurturing modern storytellers and cinema in Laos and across Southeast Asia.
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In this week’s Radio Ock Pop Tok broadcast, we discuss stories, film and the Luang Prabang Film Festival (LPFF) with Executive Director Sean Chadwell, and Festival Manager Alex Curran-Cardarelli.  LPFF brings together the boldest storytellers and the most talked about films in the ten SEA countries and screens them the first weekend in December every year in Luang Prabang. And, it’s the only film festival that committed to telling the region’s stories by local filmmakers.

Laos’ film industry was small – practically non-existent – when the  Luang Prabang Film Festival staged its first edition back in 2009. Now 11 years later, the festival has helped nurture a film community from the ground up. Through funding and networking opportunities, the LPFF has also helped the region’s filmmakers be more inclusive to women and minority voices.

The ongoing pandemic means the 2020 edition will be completely online. Sean and Alex jumped through many hoops to get licensing agreements that would allow anyone living within the 10 Southeast Asian countries to stream the movies and watch for free! This is the first time the festival will be accessible to a large number of folks.

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This year, the festival will host the Southeast Asian premier of kOsOng, an animated documentary from Indonesia that explores the personal and cultural implications of women who choose to remain childless in a society where motherhood defines a woman’s role.

Scheduled for 4-10 December, 2020, the online edition features an exceptionally curated line-up of films that delve into a range of topics and narrative styles. This year, the festival will host the Southeast Asian premier of kOsOng, an animated documentary from Indonesia that explores the personal and cultural implications of women who choose to remain childless in a society where motherhood defines a woman’s role. Additionally, the festival will screen Mekong 2030, an anthology of five short films that explores the ecological and environmental outlook for the Mekong River.

Perhaps the most remarkable thing about the film festival is its commitment to community. In December every year, our little UNESCO World heritage town  transforms into an open air cinema. Screens pop up in the central market, in gardens  and lawns and in 5-star hotels. The whole town – locals and visitors – comes out to celebrate the art of making and watching cinema. The entire festival is free and open to all. If you’ve not been here for the event, this is a great time to visit Luang Prabang!

Listen to the episode to hear more about how the festival got started and Sean and Alex’s recommendations of this year’s must-see films!

DETAILS:

The 2020 Festival will take place online from 4-10 December 2020.

All movies can be viewed free of charge to anyone located in the 10 Southeast Asian countries represented at the festival. The ten countries include: Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam)

Connect with LPFF: www.lpfilmfest.org

Follow us on IG: @ockpoptok, @lpfilmfest

Email your comments: [email protected]

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