Tag Archives | Laos

Vientianale Film Festival Returns to Laos

It may be true that Laos does not have an abundance of cinema halls and movie theaters, but that doesn’t mean the country is out of the loop. Just a few months following the first film festival in Luang Prabang, the Vientianale International Film Festival returns to the capital of Vientiane for a repeat performance.

The first Vientianale was held in 2009, and was surprisingly successful considering the challenges they faced as the country’s first film festival. According to their website:

The 2nd Vientianale will build on the overwhelming success of the inaugural event that was held in May 2009. This free event not only aims to entertain but also educate audiences about the potential richness and diversity of Lao film culture by presenting feature films, documentaries, films for children, music videos and short films. A supporting programme will include workshops on filmmaking and, of course, the big festival party.

We at the Open Air Cinema Foundation are particularly interested in the “Rising Star” competition that will be added to this year’s festival. The Rising Star Award will be presented to the best short film made on a mobile phone.

We’ll definitely be there to follow along!


Open Air NGO Film Festival: Concern Worldwide in Lao PDR

Concern Worldwide in Lao PDR

I wasn’t expecting to get much done today because it is a national holiday leading into an extended weekend. But after seeing the office for Concern Worldwide’s Laos office just down the street from my hotel I decided to stop in to take a look. Turns out that the staff were all in office today, including the regional director from the main offices in Ireland.

I only briefly introduced myself and gave a quick rundown of OACF’s plan to organize a regional NGO film festival later this year. As Concern Worldwide has offices in Cambodia and Laos we’ll be looking to see if we can find some way to work together to inform communities throughout the region about their work.

The Organization

Concern Worldwide is a non-governmental, international, humanitarian organisation dedicated to the reduction of suffering and working towards the ultimate elimination of extreme poverty in the world’s poorest countries. We are a non-religious organisation; we respect the beliefs of all people in Lao PDR. Concern Worldwide has its headquarters in Dublin, Ireland.

Concern Worldwide has been working in Lao PDR since 1992 providing development assistance to the Government in a number of provinces.

Concern Lao’s vision is of a country in which the basic needs of the people are met and in which everybody has access to the resources and opportunities necessary to lead healthy, fulfilling and peaceful lives.

Concern Lao’s mission is to improve the lives of the poorest and most vulnerable and ensure that their basic needs are fulfilled in a sustainable manner. This will be achieved by enhancing communities and individuals access to and control over resources; by strengthening the capacity of government and civil society to meet the aspirations of the people, and by promoting pro-poor policy making and participatory processes.

Concern Worldwide is guided by these core values:

  • Development is a long term process
  • Greater participation leads to greater commitment.
  • Environment must be respected.
  • Equality is a prerequisite for development.
  • Governments have primary responsibility for poverty alleviation.

Open Air Cinema Foundation Returns to Laos

I’m on a train passing over the Mekong for a return visit to Laos. The Open Air Cinema Foundation is looking to connect with the coordinators of the risk education programs at the Mines Advisory Group (MAG) and UXO Lao.

There are still many active bombs and munitions leftover from the Vietnam War. Our goal is to work with these organizations to take our outdoor cinema systems into the villages to educate villagers and children how to report UXO when it is found, and avoid injury.

I’ll be visiting the offices of both organizations tomorrow and will be updating here on the blog as I go along.


Luang Prabang, Laos: UNICEF’s One Minutes Jr Video Clips Screened in the Open Air

One of the most interesting components of the Luang Prabang Film Festival was the One Minutes Jr. program. Fifteen young students from Laos participated in filmmaking workshops held in Vientiane, Laos. By the end of the workshops each student had produced a simple one minute digital short. Each short was screened on an open air movie screen on the opening night of the film festival.

Oneminutesjr videos are sixty-second videos made by young people (between the ages of 12 and 20) from all over the world. Time may be limited in a oneminutesjr video (this challenges the youngsters to form their ideas clearly), but not the freedom to express oneself creatively, which is the basic right of every person.

The oneminutesjr network is a non-commercial community without any set political belief or ideology. The network gives young people, especially those who are underprivileged or marginalised, the opportunity to have their voices heard by a broad audience. To share with the world their ideas, dreams, fascinations, anxieties and viewpoints.

All the oneminutesjr video clips screened at the Luang Prabang Film Festival are available for viewing online at www.theoneminutesjr.org.


Luang Prabang, Laos: Interview with Luang Prabang Film Festival Director

Luang Prabang has no working cinema but that didn’t deter Gabriel Kuperman from becoming the founder and director of the first-ever Luang Prabang Film Festival in December 2010. The festival of Southeast Asian films was a big hit with tourists and locals alike and is set to run again in 2011. We speak to Gabriel about the struggle to bring films from around the region to Luang Prabang, how Lao teens got involved, his amazement at the turnout and his hope to show Lao sub-titled films at this year’s event.

Laos has produced very few films throughout its history, has just one operating cinema in the capital Vientiane and none at all in Luang Prabang. What drove you to set up the first Luang Prabang Film Festival last year in such an apparently film-unfriendly place?

Precisely the fact that there was such a small film culture in the country is why I decided to set up this festival! The main goal of our project is to help stimulate a more active film industry here in Laos, while getting the younger generations more interested in the art form. Internationally, there have been several very positive examples of film industries that have sprouted as a result film festivals started in places without much film. It is my hope that we see the same effect here, though I recognise it might be a slow process.

Can you tell us a little about what went into setting up the outdoor festival? How much work does it involve to set up a festival from scratch?

The task of setting up a film festival in a country where few people had ever heard of such an event was no easy feat. It seems I spent as much time explaining what the festival would look like, as I did planning for it. The majority of our hurdles came as a result of limited funding, though the vision and format of our festival put a great deal of extra work on our plates as well.

You can find the full interview at Travelfish.org

(The Open Air Cinema Foundation is an independent 501(c)3 organization that provides training in outdoor cinema technology to help educate, empower, and engage communities around the world. OACF recently partnered with the LPFF mentioned in this article to provide equipment and technical support throughout the event. Open Air Cinema works closely with the OACF to advance their mission by providing technical support, training, and volunteer technicians for OACF activities.)


Open Air Cinema Foundation: Update from Southeast Asia

There has been a lot going on since January, so we wanted to send out an update so that you can see where we have been over the last few months and where we are going this year. We are all really excited with the direction the Open Air Cinema Foundation is going and hope that you will follow along as we move through Southeast Asia.

First off, in December we joined with the Luang Prabang Film Festival in Laos. It was the first festival of its kind in the UNESCO World Heritage City, and by all accounts a great success. We will have more articles coming over the next few weeks with photos and details of OACF’s participation in the festival. The LPFF has invited us back for a larger festival next year, along with a traveling roadshow through the provinces. We’ll be there, no doubt!

Following the film festival, Blaine Johnson (OACF) teamed up with Tiana and Stirling Silliphant from the Indochina Film Arts Foundation (IFAF) on a three day ‘reconnaissance’  trip to Ponsavan Province in Laos. We were looking for ways to expand IFAF’s ongoing Bombs to Art Project and to make some links with local government authorities on a UXO risk education project that OACF is opening. The initiative would take an Open Air Cinema Foundation team through Lao provinces still affected by the bombs left over from the Indochina Wars. We would work with local de-mining groups and governments to create digital media that would be used to inform local villagers how to report unexploded ordnance that they find in their villages and fields. We would then take the educational shorts on tour through villages to be screened on our inflatable movie screens. If you are interested in learning more about this project, or would like to offer support, please contact us.

In early January, an OACF team consisting of David Farmer, Dean Adams and Blaine Johnson flew to Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam to assist the Indochina Film Arts Foundation in editing and organizing their massive collection of film and video footage. We also look forward to returning soon to Vietnam to explore more options for outdoor screenings within the country.

Some good news: Dean and Blaine have advanced to the semi-final round of the Echoing Green Fellowship. We are very excited about this opportunity and look forward to hearing in late-March whether we advance to the final round.

At the moment the OACF is gathering in Bangkok for some planning sessions, then Blaine is off to Cambodia to meet with the director of Cambofest Film Festival. We will then fly to Luang Prabang to prepare the outdoor cinema equipment for our upcoming involvement in another regional film festival in April. We will announce more details once they have been finalized.

Stay tuned!

(The Open Air Cinema Foundation is an independent 501(c)3 organization that provides training in outdoor cinema technology to help educate, empower, and engage communities around the world. Open Air Cinema works closely with the OACF to advance their mission by providing technical support, training, and volunteer technicians for OACF activities.)


Outdoor Movies

Outdoor movies and inflatable movie screens have been appearing in locations all around the world. Over time we will be adding links to articles about outdoor movies and open air cinema events. These articles are listed according to the country where the inflatable movie screen has been set up or the country where the outdoor […]