The third Luang Prabang Film Festival is making the best out of its available means and is becoming a mainstay film buffet for Lao audiences. This year the festival runs from Dec 1 to 5, with its main screening at the outdoor market of the enchanting Lao city, and the line-up seems more current and solid than previous years, despite the limited equipment (only DVD projection) and manpower.
The festival is organised by Gabriel Kuperman, an American who's been living in Luang Prabang for many years. From the get-go, the festival has been designated as a Southeast Asia-orientated event, and this year 28 films from around the region, including Myanmar, will be shown, as well as a collection of new Lao short films _ mostly by young directors.
The opening film this Saturday is a Lao movie, Chanthaly, by Mattie Do. One of the most interesting points is that two Lao-set titles made by Thai filmmaker Sakchai Deenan (see main story) are categorised as Lao productions, showing how national boundaries of filmmaking aren't as important as the cultural perception.
Only one movie from Myanmar will be screened _ The Dance Of An Alchemist, a 2009 drama about a traditional doctor and a woman with a mental illness. From Cambodia comes an eclectic mix: a documentary about old Khmer film Golden Slumbers, political documentary Enemies Of The People, about Pol Pot's right-hand man, and Who Killed Chea Vichea?, about the murder of a union leader.
There are new titles from Indonesia, notably the oddball drama Postcards From The Zoo and a landscape documentary Land Beneath The Fog.
Meanwhile, five films from Thailand are on the roster, with a good mix of genres: transsexual drama It Gets Better, cheerleading documentary The Cheer Ambassador, Mindfulness And Murder _ a detective story set in a temple, and two independent films, I Carried You Home and In April The Following Year, There Was A Fire.