Leh and Bo are eleven years old – cousins and best friends – in Laos. Their future looks certain – leave school, marry young, and toil season after season in the paddy fields. However, their uncle Bounmy comes home one day with another idea. They must leave the village where they've grown up and move to the temple-filled city of Luang Prabang: study hard, learn English, and maybe one day they'll have an office job and be happy. These are their last days of childhood on the banks of the Mekong River. Leh enters a new world of orange robes, morning alms and monastic discipline, while Bo struggles to find his own way in a new town. In quiet moments they dream of the family they left behind and the whispering rice fields full of spirits. A new year comes and, with the help of lantern lighting, wish doctors, and baci ceremonies, these boys find their path to a better future.
Viddsee Shortee Winners
Viddsee is an online video platform that enables a global audience to easily discover, watch, and share short films from Asia anywhere on their desktop and mobile devices. Their team strives to empower filmmakers and storytelling with Viddsee’s programming and its network, which includes some of the biggest internet media companies in the world. Their filmmakers come together via a unique platform to cross-promote, collaborate, and grow the audience for Asian film.
The selection of films shown at this year’s Luang Prabang Film Festival is made up of Viddsee Shortee winners. This award celebrates the most watched, shared, and talked about Asian short films on Viddsee each month.
All films are in their original languages with English subtitles. The full collection will be screened every day at 3pm.
Closer Apart // Jason Lee // Singapore // 14 A father does something drastic when his family members become strangers to him.
Tudung // N Thilagan // Singapore // 19 After the death of her father, a religious woman’s life is turned upside down when her long-lost sister returns home, pregnant.
The Rapist // Diane Ventura // Philippines // 16 As a young man accused of rape recalls the details of what transpired the night of his alleged assault, his therapist investigates the truth of his story.
Sunflowers // Quek Shio Chuan // Malaysia // 34 A struggling makeup artist finally lands a job only to find that she won’t be working with the living.
Revenge // Andri Cung // Indonesia // 11 Upon discovering that her boyfriend has cheated on her, a woman resorts to traditional Indonesian black magic to invoke the same pain on him.
LOLA // Kevin Ang // Philippines // 17 A grandmother spends a quiet Christmas tending to chores when the arrival of an unexpected visitor brings some deadly consequences.
Delete // Sidney Chan // Malaysia // 14 Four girls break into an abandoned bathroom at their university one night as part of their class assignment on urban legends.
Selections from the Mini-Vientianale
The Vientianale International Film Festival celebrates the art of film and the diversity of Lao culture in the country’s capital, Vientiane. The annual festival showcases an exciting program of international feature and short films, emerging as an important platform for local filmmakers to screen their works. Due to popular demand, in 2013 the festival launched Mini-Vientianale, Laos’ first dedicated short film festival. A highlight of the festival program is its short film competition, which, in 2015, attracted 22 entries from Lao filmmakers and foreign filmmakers living in Laos, working to the theme of “Back to the Roots.” The collection screened at this year’s Luang Prabang Film Festival showcases the winning entries, as well as additional top picks from the Vientianale team.
All films are in Lao language with English subtitles. The full collection will be screened every day at 2pm.
My Father’s Handprint // Kesone Keola // 7’// First Prize A young man is caught between his love for b-boy culture and his father’s traditional beliefs.
The Partner // Ka Xiong // 7′ One person’s trash is another’s treasure.
Whose Daughter? // Anoulek Douangdala // 6′ // Second Prize A schoolgirl goes out to party and has an awkward encounter.
The Medicine Boy// Yia Xong // 7′ Children in the forest remember their heritage.
My Money // 7′ // Pouthong Luangkoth // Third Prize (Tied) An innocent party becomes an eerie encounter with the afterlife.
Gokura Space // Nirankoon Singpraseuth // 4′ // Special Mention A journey into space.
The Orphan // Novice Lar Saiageth // 7′ A young orphan shunned from his village proves himself.
Peace will Become True // Thavisap Khampoumy // 4′ // Special Mention A family experiences the impacts of war.
Roots Life// Ananda Kenchan // 7′ // Third Prize (Tied) The connection between wildlife and humans.
Chaktomuk Short Film Festival Finalists
The Chaktomuk Short Film Festival (CSFF) is the first of its kind in Cambodia. Organized by the film collective Kon Khmer Koun Khmer, and running annually for the last three years, the festival promotes talented filmmakers from Cambodia and across Southeast Asia. CSFF was launched in 2012 as an online short film competition, and was only for local Cambodian filmmakers. It was received with great interest and has since grown into an important event for regional filmmakers working in short format.
Kon Khmer Koun Khmer also puts on an annual workshop for local filmmakers called FilmCampKh. Together, these events are creating an encouraging environment for young people to learn new skills and expand their project concepts. After just three years, these two projects are gaining great interest in the region. This emerging festival is definitely one to keep an eye on.
As part of our Spotlight on Cambodia, LPFF will showcase the finalists from the 2015 Chaktomuk Short Film Festival, which took place in November.
All films are in Khmer with English subtitles. The full collection will be screened every day at 11am.
Revive// Chhunly Poy // 3′
Butterfly School// Phanith Norm // 6′
Distance // Sophy Pich // 8′
Last Choice // Yi Yuveakneath // 9′
AXS 13 // Ryemon Veng // 17′
Ambors// Rin Sokreth // 10′
A Fistful of Pebbles // Chap Somchanrith // 7′
Women and Folktales
Women are important storytellers and bearers of cultural heritage in Laos. However, their voices are rarely heard outside their communities, due to their traditional homebound responsibilities and their lack of confidence in participating in public forums. At the same time, traditional folktales and legends are in danger of dying out, as an older generation passes on and young people prefer entertainment from television and the internet.
With this in mind, the Luang Prabang Film Festival and the Traditional Arts and Ethnology Centre launched the Women and Folktales Project to empower ethnic minority women in Laos and document and disseminate traditional stories using film.
Funded by the US Embassy Vientiane, the project filmed seven women, from Hmong, Kmhmu, and Tai Lue villages around Luang Prabang, recounting 19 traditional folktales in their native languages. These films were translated into Lao and English, subtitled, and are now archived within the digital libraries of LPFF and the Traditional Arts and Ethnology Centre. They can also be viewed on TAEC’s YouTube Page.
Three of these folktales, one from each ethnic group, were turned into animated shorts with the creative input of the storytellers. “The Man Who Married a Dog” (Hmong), “The Spider Man” (Kmhmu), and “What the Buffalo Told the Humans” (Tai Lue) are traditional, yet vibrant, cartoons that will be used by TAEC’s Education and Outreach Team in local primary schools and distributed to libraries and children’s organizations, exposing a whole new audience to the diverse cultural heritage of Laos.
The animated films and a selection of the archival videos will be on display every day at 10am at the Short Film Venue. DVDs of the entire collection will be on sale there and at the LPFF Night Venue.
Meet the storytellers and find out more about this project on Sunday, December 6th at 10am at the Traditional Arts and Ethnology Centre.