Laos’ Luang Prabang Film Festival Plots In-Person Return

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The Luang Prabang Film Festival held annually in Laos’ cultural hub will make an in-person return to action in December.

The festival operated as a virtual event in 2020 under pandemic conditions. But was forced to cancel its 2021 edition.

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The town has no permanent movie theater and the festival uses temporary facilities, but previous editions have attracted big crowds. All events are open to the public and are free of charge.

Over four days (Dec. 8-11, 2022) organizers will put on a mix of some twenty film screenings, public discussions and Q&A sessions with local audiences. This year, the LPFF will add a second night venue.

The additional venue will allow organizers to broaden the selection beyond the Thai and Lao staples. The full lineup will be announced in October.

Laos fully reopened to tourists in May this year and the festival’s comeback was made possible by the return of corporate sponsors in early June.

“When government partners approached us in May, the day the Lao borders reopened, the path back to a live event wasn’t clear at all. At that point, we had an office, only because it’s the norm to pay rent here several months in advance. No staff. Nothing in the bank,” said the festival’s executive director Sean Chadwell. “It’s a typical story arc where you think the good guy is down for the count, but he manages to haul himself back up for the fight.”

The comeback is not quite complete. The festival will not this year be operating the talent development lab that was run in conjunction with the Tribeca Film Institute between 2016-2019 and counts Kavich Neang’s “White Building” and Martika Ramirez Escobar’s “Leonor Will Never Die” as past participants. Chadwell says that the LPFF organizers are working towards the Lab’s return in 2023.

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