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LPFF Talent Lab 2017 Announce Winners!

Feature film projects in development from Philippines and Laos won the top prizes at the 2017 Luang Prabang Film Festival (LPFF) Talent Lab, led by Tribeca Film Institute (TFI). The Lab, which focused on grant writing and project pitching for regional filmmakers.

Winners of the 2017 LPFF Talent Lab are Siege Ledesma’s Cat Island and Xaisongkham Induangchanty’s Raising a Beast.

The jury was comprised of a diverse array of film professionals from different aspects of the filmmaking industry and included Jeremy Sim from the global media investment entity Aurora Media Holdings (AMH) from Singapore; Kenneth Lipper, an Oscar-winning American producer; Victor William of Rokki, AirAsia’s in-flight entertainment provider; and from Astro’s Southeast Asian licensing team, Ho Hock Doong.

Filipino writer-director Siege Ledesma and her producer Alemberg Ang were present when their project Cat Island was awarded the USD10,000 Aurora Producing Award by Jeremy Sim, which is cash investment to go towards the production of the completed film project. The award, which aims to discover and co-produce the best feature concepts and filmmakers, has now been a notable feature in some of the most influential project markets and film events in Asia over the past few years.

Cat Island follows Catherine, who after dedicating almost two decades of her life to the care of her asthmatic, albeit feisty and cat-loving mother, finds herself alone and purposeless when her mother dies. On the eve of her 40th birthday, the ghost of Catherine’s mother returns to ask for Catherine’s help in completing her “unfinished business”: have her remains cremated and scattered over Cat Island, Japan. With a renewed sense of purpose, Catherine travels to Japan to complete her mission on the rural island.

“We were struck by the humanity and potentially commercial premise of Cat Island and the filmmakers’ take on the subject matter. The organic collaboration with East Asia also felt like a nice touch to bridge cultures and tell a unique story. Our relationships with Filipino filmmakers continue to grow and we look forward to working towards creating more co-productions within Asia for the global market,” said Jeremy Sim, Managing Partner of AMH.

The jury also selected Induangchanty’s project, Raising a Beast, to attend the TFI Network market at the 2018 Tribeca Film Festival (18-29 April 2018). The film is produced by Abigail Lazaro, a producer from the Philippines. TFI will mentor Induangchanty through the completion of the project. All participants in this year’s Talent Lab will also receive preferential consideration for any of TFI’s grants.

Raising a Beast tells the story of two Hmong siblings, Ying and Neng, who are blessed with beautiful voices and dream of moving to the city to become singers. When their father refuses to sell the family’s prized bull to help pay for Neng’s education in the city, Ying becomes a bull trainer to cover her brother’s expenses.

The 10 projects that LPFF selected to participate, which are in various stages of production, come from six countries from the ASEAN region: Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, and Thailand. The pool was equal parts documentary and narrative features, with five projects of both genres participating. Attendees taking part in the Talent Lab included directors, writers, and producers behind the films.

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