It was called the press conference, but was actually the premiere already: Huk Aum Lum ist the second feature film produced by Lao New Wave Cinema (co-produced with Hemon Studio), and will be in the cinema from November 17th on (ITECC, of course). For Director Phanumad Disattha (Ton) it is his first feature film, and to make the task even more difficult, he also wrote the script.
Ton studied in Thailand and America, and he knows the business. Former short movies showed already his talent as a director, and with Huk Am Lum he could prove that he is in the premier league in Asia.
The story itself caters the taste of a young asian audience, in particular the Lao people. It is a love story, a comedy, sometimes a bit confusing, sometimes a bit long, but in the end everything is fine. It looked a bit that after the huge success of the controversial and on the edge of censorship production At The Horizon Lao Wave Cinema tried to play nice with the authorities with including a lot of Lao culture (aka stereotypes) from almsgiving to Baci ceremonies. At least they didn't travel to Luang Prabang. Also, the stereotype of the city girl they knows nothing about the countryside and the singer who desperately wants back to his hometown is a bit too political correct. But this is a personal taste. The audience at the premier laughed about the story, and the well placed and written jokes make it easy to watch (the film has English subtitles, by the way.)
What is more important is Tons achievement as a director. Huk Aum Lum is a highly professional production, from the equipment used to the way it was edited. Even sound, a huge problem with most productions, is well recorded. Credits also go to the director of photography, who made beautiful pictures - a piece of art actually.
What is always a challenge in Laos is to find actors. There is no school for acting, so you have to rely either on singers or on amateurs. Huk Aum Lum did both: The main characters do have experience with audience and cameras, since they are singers: Sack of Cells, Alee from “Shawty”, Jear Pacific, and DJ Kaew Kun. But they showed, and this is exceptional, that they are great actors as well. In particular Sack and Jear Pacific did a great job.
To include the people in the village were the movie was shot was not only a good idea, it also gave the film some authenticity, without disturbing it. All amateurs played surprisingly well. Congrats to all of them.
So, since there are not many Lao movies with English subtitles, go to ITECC and watch the movie. It is nice entertainment, and you may learn something more about the country and its people.
Official teaser below: