I'm so excited about the upcoming charity film screening of Dearest Sister (Nong Hak) next weekend.
It's not every day that you can watch an exclusive screening of Laos' first ever submission to the Academy Awards. Yes, you heard that right. This is such tremendous news for Laos and its film industry.
Nor is it common to be able to attend a private, open air cinema experience right on the river in Vientiane.
Or go to a film where you can meet the director, the producer, the screen writer and the actors, and ask them questions at the end.
Or that you can see a Lao film at all. Mattie is Laos' only female film director, and there are only 4 directors in total. So just seeing a locally made film is rare. Much less one that's been screened at film festivals around the world.
Dearest Sister is shot right here in Vientiane with actors speaking Lao, accompanied by subtitles in English. Lao actors speaking Lao and English subtitles.
It's the story of Ana, a Lao woman married to a falang NGO worker who starts to lose her sight. Her cousin from the village, Nok, moves to Vientiane to help them. But soon Nok realises that her blind cousin is starting to experience disturbing visions.
Dearest Sister is a glimpse into a realistic and insider perspective of contemporary Laos; there's not a paddy field in sight. Which for falang living in Vientiane, is something many of us can, and should, appreciate.
Though it's in the horror genre, Dearest Sister is more of a thriller. In fact, when it screened nationally in cinemas here in May, Lao audiences were distinctly disappointed by the lack of blood and gore.
(But if it's blood and gore, you want, check out Mattie's crowdfunding video for Dearest Sister...)
Frankly, it's pretty rare to be friends with a talented film director like Mattie Do, who agrees to screen her film completely free of charge.
But Mattie and I have been planning, (okay, well, talking about) this event for months and months. It's a simple concept - a private screening of an epic Lao film with all ticket proceeds to charity.
Our 2 charities are the ballet students of the National School of Performing Arts, and the Lao Friends Hospital for Children in Luang Prabang.
We're holding the event outdoors at the Australia Club, overlooking the beautiful Mekong river. The Australian embassy has been really helpful in preparing the area, even chopping down a wayward tree limb that obscures the screen.
We're laying down tarps on the grass, and blankets on top of that. Feel free to bring your rug to get a little cosier. And there's also a backup option at the Australia Club just in case it rains!
The film screens on 2 nights - Friday 13th (poetic, isn't it?) and Saturday 14th of October. Tickets are 120,000 kip each and include a free glass of wine, a beer or a soft drink. Plus a bag of popcorn. We also have AEnoteca and Beerlao selling drinks (beer sales go to charity too) and Slurp Cafe selling food.
Tickets are limited and are selling fast. Don't miss out on this singular opportunity to see such a culturally important and insightful Lao film set right here in Laos!
Or to get spooked on Friday 13th!
WANT TO BUY TICKETS? VISIT OUR FACEBOOK EVENT PAGE FOR UPDATED TICKET SALES!