Saturday, March 2, 2013

Vientianale 2013 is over and I won the 2nd prize

That was quite a surprise: My short movie "Forever" won the 2nd prize in the Vientianale Short Film contest 2013 (thanks to the organisers  a great festival!). Below is the video. But first I want to write about about the movie.

I had the idea of that movie a while ago when I learned about a novice committed suicide in our temple.  Although it was even in the newspaper, I thought suicide is still something people in Laos don't want to talk about. (For example my neighbours didn't tell me because they thought it's bad luck to even talk about).

So the theme of the movie was given - a suicide. I was first thinking about a documentary about this novice, but wasn't sure if this would fit in a short movie. So I decided to just use the case as a starting point.

In three years I collected a lot of stories here from young people struggling - with their work, parents, partners etc. Some of these stories are part of the movie. I actually don't know a girl that committed suicide in Laos, but do have friends in Germany who did so.  I think it is a universal topic, but it's important to talk about. So I wrote a script about an average girl with kind of average problems she just can't handle. I know that many suicides have a trigger, in my movie it's the grandmas dad.

I want to show that most young people committing suicide have the same problems like you and me - so it's not something special and not worth throwing away your life.

The movie wouldn't have happend without the help of some extraordinary people. First of all my friend Nin  aka Thanavorakit Kounthawatphinyo, the most talented filmmaker in Laos, who did the cinematography and editing for the movie as well as the sound recording for the voice over. And giving me a lot much needed and appreciated advice.

Naphaphone Manoy Phalivong was assisting me in the production, translated the script and put me in touch with Phak, the main actress. She also did the voiceover and gave the movie the film the final touch. Great job!

Phaknapha PHOSITHATH turnded out to be a natural talent as actress (it was her first movie ever) and she helped me also a lot with casting.

A huge Thank you and Khop Chai Lai Lai goes to my neighbours and Lao friends, who took part in the movie. They are listed below.

Soukan Keobuaban ( Father )
Vanphew Thanmainxay( Mother )
Phetkesone SAENGTAHEUANGHOUNG ( little girl)
Anouxa PHOSITHATH ( Investor )
Anousay Keobouaban (Boyfriend)
Suaphaphone Thepbundith (Teacher)

Vilaysone Keobouabane (Student)
Sonelani Sidavong (Student)
Toupor Yangleuxay (Student)
Phiathep (Student)
Champa Meuanphachanh (Grandmother)

Sataphone Sibounheuang was sweating a lot as camera assistant and did a great job as well. Noy was very helpful in providing us her house as a location, her dog Betty as a cast member (and cold drinks).

And finally I have to thank you my wife Nataly, who gave me the time and support to make this short movie. 

The 7 minutes limit was given by the organizers, so I wrote the script accordingly. 

And now, enjoy the movie:

The Winner film is now online: Teddy Jay

And finally "Bad Dream", the 3rd prize


  1. It is always interesting to "read" how you see Laos. I enjoy reading your blog and watching your short film. You have certainly captured a few of the frustrations Lao youngsters have to deal with.