The Luang Prabang Film Festival has fallen short of its needed budget this year, and LPFCC needs to raise the final amount it will take to make the third iteration of this event its best yet! With the festival just around the corner, please help make this important project a success.
What is the Luang Prabang Film Festival?
The not-for-profit Luang Prabang Film Festival (LPFF) is an annual celebration of filmmaking in Southeast Asia that aims to educate Lao people about film as a means of cultural expression and communication, and to support a nascent local industry and art form. Since 2010, LPFF has supported and engaged local filmmakers seeking to develop the domestic industry and encouraged Southeast Asian filmmakers to contribute to an exchange between regional film industries.
But, what do you actually do?
The vision of LPFF has laid the foundation for our daily and long-term operations, and all actions and activities of the project work towards realizing its ultimate goals.
Cultural Expression: With support from like-minded organizations, LPFF encourages cultural expression through film. LPFF is a way for Lao filmmakers to have their films viewed by an international audience, providing them with the exposure to have their voices heard. This year, we will have five Lao films at our primary venue, screening to over 1000 people each.
Mutual Exchange: LPFF provides a forum for international cooperation and exchange wherein filmmakers in Southeast Asia may share filmmaking ideas, trends, and techniques. We do this through hosting round-table discussions, workshops, and film labs during the festival and throughout the year.
Sustainable Industry: LPFF strives to foster a sustainable Lao film industry that creates jobs and income for Lao filmmakers with unique perspectives. By serving as a resource for foreign production crews looking to shoot films in Laos, LPFF is able to provide jobs to local directors, cameramen, and producers. Furthermore, LPFF promotes Lao films internationally via recommendations for other film festivals and distribution companies.
Diversity: LPFF believes strongly in equal representation of all perspectives by including audiences and content which reflect differences in socioeconomic background, ethnicity, gender, and belief. We make sure that female filmmakers participate in our activities and their works included in our programs. Additionally, we seek documentaries which focus on issues outside of the mainstream, or which spotlight voices not normally heard.
Education: We produce educational activities throughout each year, in order to give Lao people the skills and experience to be their own media makers. Additionally, LPFF will work to build the capacity of the Ministry of Information, Culture, and Tourism to foster cultural exchange and plan international events. This year, we partnered with the US Embassy to hold a 10-day workshop which trained 15 participants to create Public Service Announcements.
Why is this project important?
While Lao people are active consumers of international media (the vast majority from Thailand), Laos is underdeveloped in terms of its own media industries. Lao people depend on foreign products for entertainment across all platforms, and therefore lack their own national "voice." Film is the most underrepresented of all media arts, with just a handful of indigenous works in existence. Very few Lao people have the knowledge and understanding of film as a communication method, and as a means of creative expression. Further, while several film industries in the region are flourishing, there is not yet a cohesive Southeast Asian film community. Despite years of filmmaking in the region, LPFF is the only major film festival that focuses solely on showcasing films made in Southeast Asia, forging the connection between local industries. This allows Lao people to study the techniques and styles of neighboring industries, whose successes can be viewed as attainable from the Lao perspective. LPFF aims not to simply show great films from Hollywood and from Europe in a nice setting, but rather to introduce to the Lao an industry and tool that is possible for them to emulate. Laos may not be the next film powerhouse, but it can build a film industry that is on par with its neighbors'. This will take education, exposure, and encouragement, which is what LPFF provides.
How can a film festival help to develop a film industry?
The LPFF believes in inspiring new perspectives and stimulating creative expression in a country which has a wealth of cultural heritage, but few financial and innovation resources. LPFF began from an idea in 2008, to a festival that has already screened over 60 feature films reaching audiences numbering an estimated 12,000 Lao people, many of whom had never seen a foreign film or any film, on a big screen before.
Taking its cue from other festivals that have walked similar paths, the LPFF is ambitious but realistic. For example, the Panafrican Film and Television Festival of Ouagadougou, based in Burkina Faso and focused mainly on African film and African filmmakers, was founded in 1969. In its first year, the festival featured just two dozen films and has now grown into the biggest film festival in Africa, as well as the largest regular cultural event on the continent.
The Luang Prabang Festival itself has drawn visitors to the country, with a great number of people travelling to Luang Prabang expressly for the LPFF, generating revenue to dozens of local businesses. This demographic will only grow as LPFF's visibility does, including by having listings in three major guidebooks (Lonely Planet, Rough Guides, Footprint). However, the knock-on benefits from the Festival are much greater, from both increased media coverage of Luang Prabang and the festival, to the sponsorship and interest that the LPFF generated.
The LPFF has the potential to spark a greater domestic interest in film in Laos, as a creative and communication tool. With more awareness of Laos, the country can build its reputation as a location for film shoots, tourism, and business. We expect more films to be shot in the country, both by Lao and foreign filmmakers, and that more film events will be held. Currently being a relatively small film industry, the LPFF team already keeps a catalogue of events, film productions and activities, and will be able to monitor future development.
What is planned for the upcoming festival?
This year's festival will take place on 1-5 December 2012, and is going to be bigger and better than ever before. Over five packed days, we have 28 feature films screening in two venues (one indoor, and one outdoor), two collections of short films, a photography exhibit of the work of Cinema Tuk-Tuk, two panel discussions, a documentary Q&A series, concerts, and dance performances! Check out our schedule:
How is the festival programmed?
To celebrate the best of the best that Southeast Asian cinema has to offer, LPFF enlists our Motion Picture Ambassadors to help curate our festival. It is the responsibility of these Southeast Asian film experts 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 that are interested in participating in our non-traditional festival. A small committee of Lao nationals and foreigners with the Department of Cinema decide on the final films to be screened. 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.
How will my donation be spent?
Our project operates year-round with a very small annual budget for an international event of our size, and with little overhead. Wherever possible, we seek donations of services and materials, though some spending is still necessary. Our main costs are:
- Educational workshops and activities
- Venue and equipment rental and maintenance
- Marketing the festival domestically and internationally
- Promotional activities to raise awareness of our project
- Human resources
Do you charge admission to your screenings and activities?
No! All of the screenings and activities of the Luang Prabang Film Festival are completely free and open to the public. This is to ensure that our local audience is able to participate fully in all the festival offers.
Does it get any better?
It sure does! The Luang Prabang Fund for Culture and Conservation is a US-based 501(c)(3) organization, so any contribution you make to LPFF is fully tax-deductible.
Are there other ways I can help?
Sure! Donating would be the most helpful way of supporting this project, but we understand if you are not able to. Here's what you can do instead:
- Spread the word about this campaign.
- Like our Facebook page, so your friends can find out about LPFF, too.
- Visit our website to stay informed about our project.
- Attend the festival to show your support of our activities.
- Volunteer your time, or donate resources available to you.
- Got another idea? Get in touch at email@example.com.
Thanks for your support of the Luang Prabang Film Festival!
Risks and challenges
We have few challenges that come with completing this fundraising campaign, as the rewards we have listed are all materials and activities we can provide directly. We will have all of these things with or without additional support, so there will not be a struggle to source them.
Shipping our rewards will be an added cost to bear, but we are very much willing to do so, as we would like our backers to be able to have something tangible from their contribution.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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