How An Ancient Capital In Northern Laos Became Southeast Asia’s Sundance …

Despite the absence of a movie theatre, Luang Prabang is about to host its sixth annual film festival, coinciding with an array of cultural celebrations for an altogether extraordinary five days in this UNESCO World Heritage town.

From December 5 – 9, the Luang Prabang Film Festival (LPFF) will be taking place as part of a celebration of local arts and culture. Daytime screenings will take place in the Sofitel Hotel in its Kaipen Room, a refurbished century-old traditional Lao wooden house on the hotel grounds. In addition to more than 20 feature film screenings, this five-day event will present three major public discussions, multiple short films, and a collection of 21 videos and three animated films featuring ethnic minority women in Laos telling traditional folktales, and the festival’s new ‘Spotlight’ programme, which will devote a full day to Cambodian films – including “The Last Reel,” Cambodia’s submission to next year’s Academy Awards.

The films were selected by filmmakers and critics from across Southeast Asia and represent a carefully chosen collection of what they believe to be the finest contemporary films from their respective countries. At the same time, the LPFF has evolved to become an invaluable forum for regional film professionals to network internationally and exchange their diverse ideas and experiences. This year’s festival coincides with the celebrations of the 20th anniversary of Luang Prabang’s designation as a UNESCO World Heritage site, and the week marks the arrival of the eagerly awaited Elephant Caravan, a convoy of 20 elephants marching to bring attention to the plight of elephants in Laos and throughout Asia. All screenings and activities at the festival are free and open to the public.

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