A Filipino maid, 2 getai singers and 4 people in love in Luang Prabang

Part of the old Royal Palace in Luang Prabang, one of the screening venues of the Luang Prabang Film Festival

Resting on stone slabs centuries-old and being in the heart of UNESCO-Heritage worthy historical structures and watching the Papaya Sisters sing 'Yi Ren Yi ban' can be bizzare experience. But this is the unique experience the 1st Luang Prabang Film Festival (Dec 4 - 11) is able to offer visitors.

30+ of the best of Southeast Asian cinema will be screened at this milestone event. The festival has engaged local curators in each SEA country to pick the best films to represent that country. Yuni Hadi, the ambassador/advisor for Singapore has selected the following films from the land of the 5 stars and a crescent (very popular icons from recent events! lol).

'The Maid' by Kelvin Tong
'18 Grams of Love' by Han Yew Kwang (picture below)

'881' by Royston Tan

Some interesting background on the film industry in Laos

In the long history of the country, Laos has produced very few films, especially in the past 30 years. The first major feature film to be produced in Laos and have international success was in 2008, with Sabaidee Luang Prabang. As a result of this, the Lao have little understanding of the film industry, and no concept of it as a potential career. The Lao are active consumers of foreign media (the largest portion being from Thailand), but produce very little media of their own. Currently, foreign studios and filmmakers are not yet considering Laos as a filming location in a way that they could be. Laos could be an excellent budget location for films. Lastly, there has never been a major film festival in Laos.

Screening venues

Luang Prabang currently has no working cinemas, so screenings will take place in non-traditional (mostly outdoor) venues that will be equipped with projection equipment, screens, and seating. These include the old stadium That Luang, Siengsavan, a former movie theater turned restaurant/performance space, the Handicraft Market, the Governor’s Office and the former Royal Palace.

That Luang, the old stadium, another screening venue
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