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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Kong Rithdee (Thailand)
Kong Rithdee has been writing about movies and popular culture at the Bangkok Post for 15 years. He also contributes to international film magazines and journals, such as Cineast and Cahiers Du Cinema. He is associated with the Thai Film Foundation, a non-profit organization that promotes independent filmmaking in Thailand and Southeast Asia.
Minh Trinh (Vietnam)
An author of two books on cinema, Minh is a filmmaker whose films My Apartment Block and Where Does The Wind Blow have screened at several film festivals, including AMPAS’s “New Voices from Vietnam” program. Subsequently, Minh received a Fulbright scholarship to pursue an MFA in Film Production at the University of Texas at Austin. His short film, The Scent of Fish Sauce, has traveled to the prestigious BFI London Film Festival, Bucheon Fantastic Film Festival, and the Palm Springs International Film Festival. Additionally, he writes about films for Vietnamese newspapers and magazines.