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About the Luang Prabang Film Festival

Our Vision

The Luang Prabang Film Festival operates as a non-profit cultural organization committed to the celebration of Southeast Asian film, as well as to the growth of local and regional film communities.

Southeast Asia is a magical part of the world; its cultures are many, and its plot lines are richly diverse. We want to see these stories told, and told well, and we want everyone watching.

What We Stand For

Cultural Expression

With support from like-minded organizations, we seek to inspire expression and cross-cultural communication through film. LPFF offers a venue for the best of Southeast Asia’s most distinct and unique voices.

Mutual Exchange

LPFF is an exciting forum for international exchange, where filmmakers share ideas, trends, and techniques. All great films start with great ideas. LPFF cultivates discussion around those ideas through various panels and activities.

Sustainable Industry

We aim to create jobs and income for filmmakers by building connections and supporting a sustainable regional film industry. Additionally, our organisation focuses closely on capacity building specifically for Lao filmmakers.

Diversity

We believe strongly in equal representation of all perspectives. We pride ourselves on showcasing content that reflects a variety of ethnic, national, gender, sexual, and political identities.

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The Main Event

The Luang Prabang Film Festival (LPFF) brings together the boldest storytellers and the most talked-about films in Southeast Asia. Our curators handpick these films from ten ASEAN-member countries (Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam), and LPFF showcases them in the beautiful UNESCO World Heritage town of Luang Prabang, Laos.

This inspiring environment provides an ideal backdrop for artists and industry professionals to share their experiences and talents. LPFF is a festival for the adventurous, and is quickly becoming known as one of the most alluring and exciting locations on the international film festival circuit.

At the start of every December, the former royal capital of Laos is transformed into a theater. Screens are rigged on garden lawns, within the walls of five-star hotels, at a central market. The whole town becomes the perfect setting for celebrating the art of cinema.

As LPFF believes in equal access, all of our screenings are free and open to the public. At our main outdoor venue, we set up 800 blue chairs, but regularly welcome eager audiences of over 1,500 people per screening.

Structure, Staff, and Governance

In order to conduct business in Laos, the Luang Prabang Film Festival organization is managed on a not-for-profit basis by FRANK Sole Co., Ltd., an events management firm registered in Laos and held in turn by LPFF, Ltd., registered in Hong Kong. Both LPFF, Ltd. and FRANK are fully committed to transparency in governance and finance; to international-standard, fund-based accounting; and to redirecting income in excess of expense to the ongoing mission and vision above.

The Team

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Sean Chadwell,
Executive Director

Originally from West Virginia, Sean has lived and worked in the United States, India, China, and the Lao People’s Democratic Republic. As a university faculty member in the US and China, he has taught literature, writing, and film studies courses and published research on the concept of authenticity in popular culture–and specifically in food, film, and music–in the West.

Chadwell lived in Luang Prabang from 2014 to 2016, serving LPFF as a volunteer during those years. He rejoined the organization as its executive director in 2019, happily re-relocating to Laos.

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Vone Liosakoun,
Programs Manager

Vone joined the LPFF team in early September 2020. In addition to managing budgets, reporting, and timelines for both programming and Artist Development activities, she liaises with Lao and international film professionals and facilitates daily operations.

Born and raised in Luang Prabang, she was most recently the manager for KOPNOI Export Promotion Center.

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Vieng Phimmasone,
Development Coordinator

A native of Laos, Vee lived and worked in the UK for over 10 years as an interpreter, in hospitals and free-lance.

She returned to Luang Prabang in late 2015 to start a small business and work part-time for NGOs as a free-lance consultant in environmentally sustainable tourism. Phimmasone joined the LPFF team at the end of September 2020.

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Gabriel Kuperman,
Festival Founder,
Consulting Director of Artist Development

Hailing from Washington, DC, Gabriel Kuperman received a master’s degree in Media Studies from the New School in New York City. There, he developed his professional foundation in both production and programming for television, film, and radio, working for companies such as MTV Networks and Clear Channel.

After moving to Laos in 2008, Kuperman founded the Luang Prabang Film Festival a year later. After ten years at its helm, he shifted focus in 2019 to managing the project’s artist development programs, such as workshops, educational activities, and talent labs.

Kuperman and his work have been profiled in media outlets across the world, including Time Magazine, Vogue, the Hollywood Reporter, the Nation, and the Bangkok Post.

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Bree Fitzgerald,
Director of Programming

Bree Fitzgerald comes from a family of filmmakers and festival alumni. At age 8 she got her first job working selling posters in Yorkville for a film festival then known as the Toronto Festival of Festivals. Growing up around programmers she developed deep industry knowledge and, perhaps because of this, a strong desire to see new independent voices amplified.

A particular interest in non-fiction narratives, often overlooked in the mainstream, led her initially to a career in documentary film and television. This became 25 years of experience working as an award-winning producer and camerawoman for broadcast on National Geographic, Discovery and A&E networks.

More information below about Fitzgerald, who also serves on LPFF’s Board of Directors.

LPFF Volunteers

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Alex Curran-Cardarelli,

Born and raised outside of Boston, Massachusetts, Alex moved to Ohio to study creative writing and art history at Denison University. During her time there, she cultivated her skills and appreciation for storytelling through various mediums, such as writing, photography, and museum curation.

Through a Princeton in Asia fellowship, Curran-Cardarelli moved to Laos to start her professional career at LPFF as a festival coordinator in 2018. After completing her two year commitment, her newfound love for cinema and Southeast Asian culture inspried her to remain at LPFF to serve first as Festival Manager and then Managing Director.

Though she returned to the United States in 2021, she continues to serve LPFF as a volunteer. 

Mathieu Didry,

Originally from Le Havre, Mathieu Didry is a French university student with a passion for cinema. He first joined the LPFF team in November, 2020, contributing to the production of the virtual festival that year and assisting in festival events in Vientiane and Luang Prabang.

Currently living in Vientiane, he continues to pursue his studies online while volunteering for LPFF.

Itzel Rentería,

Since 2011, Itzel Rentería has worked on several films and audiovisual pieces as a coordinator and line producer in México, Nicaragua, Argentina and Berlin. She also served as the production coordinator at the Short Film department in the Mexican Institute of Cinematography.

Rentería set off to travel in Asia in 2019 and has been living in Laos for more than a year. A fan of both documentaries and dogs, she is devoted to helping talented people to realize their dreams and will be helping to manage projects like the Lao Filmmakers Fund for LPFF.

Motion Picture Ambassadors

To celebrate the best of the best that Southeast Asian cinema has to offer, LPFF enlists our Motion Picture Ambassadors (MPAs) to help curate the festival. It is these film experts’ responsibility to suggest around ten films made within the past five years, which represent the finest filmmaking from their respective countries. From those lists, LPFF procures screeners from the regional distribution companies interested in participating in our non-traditional festival. A small committee of Lao nationals and foreigners (alongside the Department of Cinema) decide on the festival’s final program. LPFF is indebted to our volunteer Motion Picture Ambassadors, all of whom spend a great deal of time carefully preparing their suggestions and promoting our festival in their respective countries.

 
Motion Picture Ambassadors

SOK VISAL (CAMBODIA)

Born in Cambodia, Visal spent almost twenty years in France, before returning to his homeland in 1993. Since then, he has established himself as a creative director, an event, music and film producer, and a film director. In 1996, Visal began working in advertising, eventually becoming the Art Director and Creative Director at two of the biggest agencies in Cambodia. Visal founded KlapYaHandz, Cambodia’s first independent music label and Khmer hip hop label, in 2005. Four years later, he founded 391 Films, which has produced close to 40 films and 20 events to date. Passionate about his country, its rich history and promising future, Visal makes work that often weaves a tight narrative between the traditional and the contemporary.

 
Motion Picture Ambassadors

GAYATRI NADYA (INDONESIA)

Nadya got her start volunteering at film festivals in Jakarta, where she learned about film and production. An active participant in online film media, she is also part of the organizing team for the Jakarta International Film Festival. Additionally, Nadya is a program manager at Kolektif, a distribution company established in 2012, which focuses on alternative cinema and community.

 
 
Motion Picture Ambassadors

SOMSANOUK MIXAY (LAOS)

Involved in the media landscape for more than 30 years, Somsanouk Mixay was the Deputy Director General of Lao National Radio and Television, where he started foreign language transmissions. In 1994, he founded the Vientiane News, now an English language daily. In 1998, he started the French weekly Le Renovateur, and later, instituted the English and French news at Lao National Television. As the Vice President of the Lao Journalists Association, he has focused his efforts on upgrading the skills of Lao journalists and enhancing cooperation between the Association and other international organizations. Somsanouk plays an important role in reviving and promoting Lao culture and has written a number of books on the subject.

 
 
Motion Picture Ambassadors

AMIR MUHAMMAD (MALAYSIA)

Amir Muhammad is a Malaysian writer, publisher, and occasional filmmaker. He has been writing for the Malaysian print media since the age of 14. His films and documentaries have screened at many international film festivals, including Sundance and Berlin. Two of them, The Last Communist and Village People Radio Show, are banned in Malaysia. He set up Matahari Books in 2007 to publish Malaysian non-fiction and film-related books. His latest book is 120 Malay Movies (2010), a look at the cinema of the studio system of 1948-72.

 
 
 
Motion Picture Ambassadors

THAIDDHI (MYANMAR)

Thaiddhi was born in Yangon and has been working as an independent documentary filmmaker since 2005. He received a scholarship to attend Czech National Film Academy—FAMU—for a 3-year master’s degree program in English Cinema and Digital Media. In 2011, he co-founded the first Burmese film festival: the Wathann Film Festival in Yangon. The Wathann Film Festival works to gather and inspire a wide network of young people invested in independent filmmaking with artistic ambitions.

 
 
 
Motion Picture Ambassadors

AISHAH ABU BAKAR (SINGAPORE)

Aishah Abu Bakar previously served as the Programming Manager of Moving Images at The Substation. There, she was in charge of organizing film screenings and related events, such as the Singapore Short Film Awards, the Experimental Film Forum, Singapore Indie Doc Fest, and First Take––a regular local platform for first-time filmmakers. Prior to that, she been a Film Traffic Coordinator for the 2007 and 2009 editions of the Singapore International Film Festival, and has had a hand in television productions for Mediacorp’s Channel NewsAsia and Suria. Currently, she is the Programme and Film Traffic Manager for the Singapore International Film Festival.

Motion Picture Ambassadors

FRANCIS JOSEPH A. CRUZ (PHILIPPINES)

Francis Joseph A. Cruz discovered his passion for cinema while attending Ateneo de Manila University. After college, though set on entering film school, he was instead pushed to study law at the University of the Philippines. He is now working as a corporate and litigation lawyer in Manila. Never losing his passion for cinema, he also manages a cinema blog called Lessons from the School of Inattention, contributes to Philippine Star and Philippine Free Press, and is the Philippine correspondent for Twitch. He has contributed to film texts on the Philippine New Wave and Kidlat Tahimik. He attended the 2011 edition of the Berlinale Talent Campus as part of the Talent Press.

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TRAN THI BICH NGOC (VIETNAM)

Ngoc has more than 20 years of experience in the film industry. She has worked in a variety of positions, including as Assistant Director for The Quiet American by Phillip Noyce and The Last Airbender by M. Night Shyamalan; Production Assistant for The Beautiful Country by Hans Petter Molan; and Producer for The Third Wife by Ash Mayfair. 

The Board of Directors

Nicholas Simon

An American/Hungarian citizen living in Bangkok, Nicholas Simon founded the international film and television production company Indochina Productions in 2010. His vast Asian filmmaking experience dates back to the early 90’s, when he began producing through Vietnam’s first international media joint venture. The only company in South East Asia able to produce and service big budget Hollywood studio films and Fortune 500 advertising commercial needs in over 14 countries, Indochina operates in Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Japan, The Philippines, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, The Maldives, Singapore, Bangladesh, and Malaysia.

Simon pioneered bringing big budget filmmaking to Vietnam with Warner Brothers/Legendary Films’ KONG:SKULL ISLAND starring Samuel L. Jackson, Tom Hiddelston and Brie Larson and Netflix’s DHAKA starring Chris Hemsworth to Bangladesh. Indochina’s recent productions include Spike Lee’s DA 5 BLOODS starring Chadwick Boseman (BLACK PANTHER), and Michael Mann’s (MIAMI VICE, HEAT) adaption of Mark Bowden ’s (BLACK HAWK DOWN) wrenching story of the Tet Offensive HUE 68 for Disney’s FX channel. Indochina’s TV commercial resume includes award winning spots for Apple, Budweiser, Toyota, and Samsung, among others.

Bree Fitzgerald

Bree Fitzgerald comes from a family of filmmakers and festival alumni. At age 8 she got her first job working selling posters in Yorkville for a film festival then known as the Toronto Festival of Festivals. Growing up around programmers she developed deep industry knowledge and, perhaps because of this, a strong desire to see new independent voices amplified.

A particular interest in non-fiction narratives, often overlooked in the mainstream, led her initially to a career in documentary film and television. This became 25 years of experience working as an award-winning producer and camerawoman for broadcast on National Geographic, Discovery and A&E networks.

Though based for many years in New York, Fitzgerald has spent most of her career working in Southeast Asia, drawn by the innovative nature and diversity of independent voices found there. In 2014 she became the Chair of the Board of LPFF with a mandate to develop the festival as a vital regional resource for filmmakers. In 2016, she was appointed to the role of Director of Programming, bringing her experience in storytelling to LPFF’s annual program as well as a lifelong mission to expand access to peripheral narratives, and to support and champion emerging voices.


Liz Tynes Netto

Liz Tynes Netto has worked as a producer and a videographer for various documentary series on The Discovery Channel, National Geographic, and HBO among others. She recently completed her MFA at Antioch University, Los Angeles and is currently writing a novel and a screenplay. Her short stories and poems, some of which are based on her time living in South East Asia, have been published in a variety of journals. She lives in Los Angeles with her daughter and a very cute dog named Dusty.