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Film Festival

The 4th ICLSApril 19-21, 2013 | University of Wisconsin-Madison, USA 

Film Festival Schedule
VandeBerg Auditorium, rm 121, Pyle Center
Saturday, April 20, 2013
10:00 am         Tai Dam Courtship Games, Documentary, RT: 9 min.
10:15 am         Hmong New Year, Documentary, RT: 14 min.
10:30 am         Roses and Red Ants: Great Men Unleash Terrible Destruction, Documentary (trailer, in production), RT:  10 min
10:45 am         Caring for the Beyond, Two Lao Buddhist Festivals for the Deceased,   Documentary, RT: 30 min.
11:30 am         At the Horizon, Horror, RT: 1 hr 45 min.
Ends @ 1:15 pm
Sunday, April 21, 2013
9:00 am         Lao Warrior Action, (trailer, in production), RT: 10 min. (including short performance by Kenji Saykosy)
9:30 am         Laos Free, Animation, RT: 9 min.
9:45 am         Surviving the Peace: Laos, Documentary, RT: 24 min.
10:15 am       Portraits from Luang Prabang, Director: Adri Berger, RT: 20 min.
10:45 am       Chanthaly, Drama, RT: 1 hr 45 min.
Ends @ 12:45 pm
Total RT: approx. 6 hr. 30 min.
At the Horizon
Drama, RT: 1 hr 45 min.
Director: Anysay Keola
Assistant Director: Xaisongkham Induangchanthy
Sin, a wealthy boy in his early twenties born into a powerful family, is spoiled by his parents. He has never realized the importance of self-dependence and is widely regarded as irresponsible, arrogant, and pompous. Sin’s life would intersect with Lud, a mute middle-aged mechanic. Lud lives a modest life with his his wife and daughter. The story pivots around Lud’s imprisonment of Sin. This drama reveals the epic collision of revenge, corruption, and forgiveness.  Both characters move towards the point of no return.
Horror (rough cut), RT: 1 hr 45 min.
Director: Mattie Do
Raised alone by her overprotective father and sequestered in their home in Vientiane, Chanthaly suspects that her dead mother’s ghost is trying to deliver a message to her from the afterlife. A change in her medication—intended to treat her hereditary heart condition—causes the hallucinations to cease. Chanthaly must decide whether or not to risk succumbing to her terminal illness in order to hear her mother’s last words.
Shorts (20-30 min)
Caring for the Beyond, Two Lao Buddhist Festivals for the Deceased
Documentary, RT: 30 min.
Directors: Patrice Ladwig and Gregory Kourilsky
In Lao Buddhism the relationship between the living and the dead is expressed and perpetuated in rituals. The ‘Festival of rice packets covering the earth’ and the ‘Festival of rice drawn by lots’ are part of the annual ritual cycle of Lao Buddhists and are performed in the 9th lunar month at new moon and full moon respectively. This ethnographic documentary focuses on the preparation in the household of Buddhist laypeople and the performance of the rituals in two temples. It takes a detailed look at the objects of exchange that constitute links between the living, the monks and the dead and documents how care for the deceased is expressed in the cultural idioms of a localized Buddhism.
Surviving the Peace: Laos
Documentary, RT: 23:30 min.
Executive Producer: Brian Storm
Surviving the Peace: Laos takes an intimate look at the lives of those affected by these unexploded bombs and profiles the dangerous, yet life-saving work that MAG, staffed by Lao nationals, has undertaken in the country. The film follows the tragic story of one UXO accident survivor and the devastating effect such an accident will have on his family and future generations. MAG staff highlight the effect unexploded ordnance has had on the economic development of this country.
Portraits from Luang Prabang
Director: Adri Berger, RT: 20 min.
The film incorporates interviews with local people to create a ‘window’ on Luang Prabang in Laos from a different perspective. Many visitors see the traditional arts and culture of Luang Prabang when they buy souvenirs, go to a show or visit museums. However they don’t often get to see how these traditions are kept alive by the people who work as local artisans and in small village industries. This film goes behind the scenes and depicts a vital part of life in Luang Prabang. We created simple ‘moving’ portraits (vignettes) of the people who are the heartbeat of this small heritage town in SE Asia.
Mini (Approx 10 min. or less, works in-progress, trailers)
Roses and Red Ants: Great Men Unleash Terrible Destruction
Documentary (trailer, in production), RT:  10 min
Director: Nakhone Keodara 
The dust from bombed megalithic stone urns-covered Plain of Jars and cratered battlefields of sleepy Laos settled nearly four decades ago. Yet around one third of the country remains contaminated with about 80 million unexploded cluster bombs that litter villages, school grounds, rice fields, roads, and other populated areas; close to a million displaced Laotians still live in fear, afraid to talk about what they left behind. They are scattered across five continents far away from their homeland. Roses & Red Ants is a fascinating and never-been-told tale of a country that time has forgotten: an epic documentary (in production) about four Princes and a soldier fighting a Civil War for the sovereignty of Laos. Roses & Red Ants will follow a unique Lao American student across sweeping landscapes of America and on globe-trotting scavenger expeditions to excavate the farthest reaches of the minds and deepest chambers of the hearts of its survivors. His is a quest to memorialize the struggle of a people. In the background, Roses & Red Ants is about a Laotian peasant revolution—to rid itself of over half a century of colonial repression (France) and 200 years of its local neighbors’ domination (Thailand, Vietnam and Burma).
Laos Free 
Animation, RT: 9 min.
Director/Producer: Cory Sheldon
Laos Free is an animated film that is part narrative and part info-graphic. It tells some of the history between Laos and the United States, how the bombing came to be during the Vietnam conflict and what the situation is like today. As a ‘war’ that was deliberately hidden, it is sadly no surprise that the bombing in Laos is little known to the citizens of the country that is responsible for the bombing. To the people of Laos, however, it is painfully a part of everyday life.
Hmong New Year
Documentary, RT: 14 min.
Producers: Traditional Arts and Ethnology Centre (TAEC)
A 14-minute video follows Hmong New year’s celebrations in the village of Ban Nasamphan near Luang Prabang town in 2012. The video follows a community as they make rice cakes, bless the community, and make offerings to the spirits for the coming year. Filmed by Hmong and Lao staff of the Traditional Arts and Ethnology Centre, the video shows how New Year traditions endure today.
Tai Dam Courtship Games
Documentary, RT: 9 min.
Producers: Peter Livermore for the Traditional Arts and Ethnology Centre (TAEC)
Traditionally, informal rituals and games were an important part of courtship for Laos’ ethnic minority groups. In this short video, we see Tai Dam teenagers in Xe Village in Houaphan Province play lin mak khone, make rice cakes and traditional alcohol, and shyly get to know one another.
Lao Warrior
Action (trailer, in production), RT: 10 min. 
Director: Kenji Saykosy
Lao Warrior is a movie based on the true story of Kenji's life as he and his family fled from a small village in Laos during the Vietnam War,  eventually making their way to the United States. The story follows Kenji as he adjusts to a new culture, a new language and all of the problems one face growing up in America.  As Kenji overcomes his fears, racism, bullying and the shock of his new life, he grows and becomes an incredible martial artist with good friends and a meaningful life. When things seem at their best, Kenji must face new challenges as his world collides a powerful, corrupt mob boss bent on controlling the city through terror and violence. Can Kenji stop a human trafficking ring, underground fighting and a murderous enemy from the past?
For further questions, please contact the Film Festival Chair at sarounsack@csustan.edu.


Bio for the Film Festival Committee Chair

In over 15 years of multi-media experience in film and print, Dr. Arounsack’s productions have aired on PBS, satellite TV, at universities, and theatre venues.

He was elected to the Board of Governors (2010-2012) for the National Academy of Television of Arts and Sciences, San Francisco Chapter (Emmy Awards); he was the President (2004-2006) of Pacific Arc Media LLC, a company focused on Southeast Asian media and culture; and he served as the first Editor-in-Chief (1996-2000) of the national Lao-American hybrid publication, Lao Vision. Dr. Arounsack hosted the first and second International Conference on Lao Studies Film Festivals.

He was also part of the prestigious inaugural class of national Gates Millennium Scholars and has published numerous articles and papers on Lao culture and identity.  Currently, Dr. Arounsack is an assistant professor at California State University, Stanislaus teaching courses in digital media, visual anthropology, and Southeast Asian cultures.



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