The Luang Prabang Film Festival held annually in the cultural center of Laos will be back in action in December.
The festival operated in 2020 as a virtual event under pandemic conditions. But was forced to cancel the 2021 edition.
The city does not have a permanent cinema and the festival uses temporary facilities, but previous editions have attracted large audiences. All events are public and free to attend.
Over four days (December 8-11, 2022), the organizers will host a mix of some twenty film screenings, public discussions and question-and-answer sessions with local audiences. This year, the LPFF is adding a second nighttime location.
The additional location allows organizers to expand the selection beyond the Thai and Lao staples. The full line-up 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 Laotian borders reopened, the way back to a live event was not clear at all. We had an office then, just because it’s the norm to pay rent here several months in advance. No staff. Nothing in the bank,” said festival executive director Sean Chadwell. “It’s a typical storyline where you think the good guy is ahead of the count, but he manages to lift himself up again for the fight.”
The comeback is not quite complete yet. The festival this year will not operate the talent development lab run between 2016-2019 in partnership with the Tribeca Film Institute and which counts Kavich Neang’s “White Building” and “Leonor Will Never Die” by Martika Ramirez Escobar as past participants. Chadwell says LPFF organizers are working to return the Lab in 2023.