In the middle of Laos, the annual Luang Prabang festival offers one of the festival circuit’s better programmes of ASEAN filmmaking. It’s just announced its 2014 programme.
When it comes to features, it’s fair to say that Laos has a limited output. The country has produced fewer than 20 features all up, including a grand total of one by a female director – Mattie Do’s 2013 Chanthaly.
While the annual Luang Prabang event isn’t going to do much to change that, it does offer a good selection of what’s happening across the ASEAN region, and this year the festival includes four Laotian films including omnibus title Vientiane in Love in the mix. (Vientiane is Laos’ capital city, for those wondering who he/she is).
Festival programmers guarantee at least one title from each member state in ASEAN – always assuming a feature has recently been made in those states. Brunei Darussalam failed to clear that hurdle this year.
While most titles on the 2014 menu are likely to be unfamiliar, and some of the filmmakers’ names challenging, there are a few that have had impact and success well beyond the region. Cambodian Rithy Panh’s Oscar-robbed doco The Missing Picture leads the list alongside a different sort of horror, Thai feature Pee Mak Phra Khanong and Singaporean Anthony Chen’s much-awarded Ilo Ilo.
Among the other selections, Borgy Torre’s Filipino feature shares its title with Lee Tamahori’s currently crowdfunding film: The Patriarch.
As well as cramming 25+ features into five days, the festival screens shorts programmes curated by other events. Laos’ other film festival, The Vientianale, delivers a short film programme including this year’s winner, Lee Vilayphong Phongsavanh’s You+Me=One. For factual fans’, DocNet Southeast Asia’s ChopShots festival delivers its shorts programme, this year won by Cambodian Kavich Neang’s Where I Go, produced by Rithy Panh.
The Luang Prabang Film Festival runs 6 – 10 December in Laos. The festival’s full feature line-up is:
3.50: Chhay Bora, Cambodia
Aroma of Heaven: Budi Kurniawan, Indonesia
The Boatbuilders of Mermaid Island: Azharr Rudin and Imri Nasution, Malaysia
By the River: Nontawat Numbenchapol, Thailand
Catnip: Kevin Dayrit, Philippines
Concrete Clouds: Lee Chatametikool, Thailand
Ilo Ilo: Anthony Chen, Singapore
Iskalawags: Keith Deligero, Philippines
The Jungle School: Riri Riza, Indonesia
Madam Phung’s Last Journey: Tham Nguyen Thi, Vietnam
The Mangoes: Tonny Trimarsanto, Indonesia
Mary Is Happy, Mary Is Happy: Nawapol Thamrongrattanarit, Thailand
The Missing Picture: Rithy Panh, Cambodia
My Teacher, Niyom Wongpongkham, Laos
The Patriarch: Borgy Torre, Philippines
Pee Mak Phrakanong: Banjong Pisanthanakun, Thailand
Really Love: Jear Sirivongsa, Laos
Return to Burma: Midi Z, Myanmar
Sayang Disayang: Sanif Olek, Singapore
Shift: Siege Ledesma, Philippines
The Songs of Rice: Uruphong Raksasad, Thailand
Streetside: Daniel Ziv, Indonesia
The Teacher’s Diary: Nithiwat Tharathorn, Thailand
The Talent: Nguyen Quang Huy, Vietnam
Tuk-Tuk: Simon Luang Kiyé, Laos
Vientiane in Love: Vannaphone Sitthirath, Xaisongkham Induangchanthy, Phanumad Disattha and Anysay Keola, Laos
We Are Moluccan: Angga Dwimas Sasongko, Indonesia