The 2022 Beloit International Film Festival will celebrate a significant new global outreach as it launches a new partnership with one of world’s emerging international festivals.
The Luang Prabang Film Festival unfolds over several days each December in the northern UNESCO World Heritage cultural center of Luang Prabang, Laos. The festival has been dedicated to showcasing contemporary cinema from Southeast Asia, a region comprising ten countries: Brunei, Cambodia, Laos, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, The Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.
In its first-ever collaboration with a festival in the United States, the LPFF will present a showcase of new Southeast Asian films at BIFF, Feb.25 – March 6.
BIFF has expanded its ties with international filmmakers and festivals over its 17 years. Each season, submissions come from around the world. This year BIFF will feature more than two dozen international selections.
“This collaboration with the Luang Prabang Film Festival is an exciting step for BIFF and BIFF audiences,” notes BIFF Executive Director Greg Gerard. “We will have a unique opportunity to see a whole new aspect of filmmaking from a part of the world that is rapidly drawing interest from filmmakers and audiences.
“This connection is a result of BIFF’s growing reputation and particularly, our ties with filmmaker, producer and Beloit native Nicholas Simon who brought BIFF to the attention of LPFF executive director, Sean Chadwell. The screenings will also be tied to international education programs at Beloit College and we hope to welcome Sean Chadwell to the Festival.”
The films are drawn from audience favorites during the LPFF’s first decade. Feature selections will include Jalanan (Indonesia, 2013), Finding Phong (Vietnam,2015), and Burma Storybook (Myanmar, 2017) — along with MEKONG 2030, an award-winning anthology film produced by LPFF and released in 2020. There will also be a program of new Southeast Asian short films.
Jalanan transports viewers into the lives of talented and marginalized street musicians in Jakarta. Finding Phong blends video diaries with a traditional documentary approach to tell the story of a gender transition in Hanoi. Especially poignant now, Burma Storybook uses Burmese poetry to tell the story of a society emerging from a long period of dictatorship.
MEKONG 2030, made with the goal of inspiring audiences around the world to think about the challenges facing one of the world’s most important rivers, comprises five fiction films, each one the project of a director from a lower-Mekong nation (Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, and Vietnam). The stories all share a setting related to the river in the year 2030.
Plans for the showcase include a roundtable discussion on contemporary Southeast Asian film and filmmakers.
The annual Luang Prabang Film Festival has deepened relationships with regional industry professionals by hosting a Talent Lab in conjunction with the Tribeca Film Institute and through its annual Lao Filmmakers Fund for domestic projects. They have provided more than $250,000 in direct support to Lao filmmakers since 2013.
Beloit native moved to Asia for one career but found another one.
Northern Public Radio | By Yvonne Boose
February 22, 2022
The Beloit International Film Festival this year marks its 17th season as the region’s major international cultural event. BIFF is generously sponsored by the Hendricks Family Foundation and Visit Beloit in association with Beloit College. Support for the Festival comes from area businesses and civic organizations, and the Wisconsin Arts Board with funds from the State of Wisconsin and the National Endowment for the Arts. Critical individual support for BIFF is provided through gifts and membership in the BIFF Film Society of Beloit.