FESTIVALS: Redha wins audience award in Luang Prabang

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Malaysian drama Redha, directed by Tunku Mona Riza, was presented with the audience award at this year’s Luang Prabang Film Festival.

The film, which was Malaysia’s best foreign-language Oscar submission in 2016, revolves around a couple dealing with the discovery that their only son is autistic. Tunku Mona Riza, who made her feature debut with the film, attended the festival and took part in a panel discussion about Muslim voices in Southeast Asian cinema.

Now in its eighth edition, the Luang Prabang Film Festival (December 8-13) focuses on Southeast Asian cinema and this year screened 32 features and four programmes of short films.

Short film programmes included a selection from the Vientianale Short Film Competition showcasing new talent in Laos; Thai shorts to complement this year’s Spotlight country; the top films from a Youth and Agro-ecology Short Film Competition held by LPFF; and recent award winners from online video platform Viddsee.

The festival also hosted the second edition of the LPFF Talent Lab for Southeast Asian filmmakers, led by the Tribeca Film Institute (TFI), which selected ten projects from six ASEAN nations.

Lao-Filipino collaboration Raising A Beast, written and directed by Lao filmmaker Xaisongkham Induangchanty and produced by the Philippines’ Abigail Lazaro, was selected to attend the TFI Network market during the Tribeca Film Festival in New York in 2018. The project follows two Hmong siblings who dream of moving to the city to become singers.

Filipino project Cat Island, pitched by director Siege Ledesma and producer Ang Alemberg, received the Aurora Producing Award of $10,000. Also scripted by Ledesma, the projects tells the story of a woman who travels to Japan to complete a mission for her cat-loving mother.

This year’s LPFF also introduced a documentary production workshop organised by the US Mission to ASEAN and the American Film Showcase. Filipino-American filmmaker Ramona Diaz and Patrick Shen led a five-day workshop with 14 participants, resulting in the production of four short docs, which were screened along with Diaz’s most recent film, Motherland.