motion picture ambassadors
To celebrate the best of the best that Southeast Asian cinema has to offer, LPFF enlists our Motion Picture Ambassadors to help curate our festival. It is the responsibility of these film experts to suggest around ten films made within the past five years, which represent the finest filmmaking from their respective countries. From those lists, LPFF procures screeners from the regional distribution companies that are interested in participating in our non-traditional festival. A small committee of Lao nationals and foreigners (alongside the Department of Cinema) decide on the final films to be screened. LPFF is quite indebted to our volunteer Motion Picture Ambassadors, all of whom spent a great deal of time carefully preparing their suggestions and promoting our festival in their respective countries.
Sok Visal (Cambodia)
Film Producer/Creative Director
Born in Cambodia, Visal spent almost twenty of his early years in France, returning to his homeland in 1993. Since then, he has established himself as a creative director, an event, music and film producer, and a film director. In 1996, Visal began working in advertising, eventually becoming the Art Director and Creative Director at two of the biggest agencies in Cambodia. Visal founded KlapYaHandz in 2005, Cambodia’s first independent music label and Khmer hip hop label. Four years later, he founded 391 Films and to date has produced close to 40 commercial films and 20 events. Passionate about his country, its rich history and promising future, Visal’s work often weaves a tight narrative between the traditional and the contemporary.
Lulu Ratna (Indonesia)
Film Festival Organizer
Hailing from Jakarta, Ratna graduated with a degree in Anthropology from the University of Indonesia. She has worked as a festival organizer for a number of film festivals, including the Jakarta International Film Festival and Europe on Screen, and has also served on the jury for many other festivals, including the Hamburg International Short Film Festival, the Amnesty International-DOEN Award Rotterdam Film Festival, and the Tampere Film Festival. She is actively involved in Boemboe Organisation (an Indonesian short film promotion and distribution company) and COFFIE—Coordination for Film Festival in Indonesia. Ratna currently works for the Film Committee of Jakarta Arts Council.
Somsanouk Mixay (Laos)
In the media for more than 30 years, Somsanouk Mixay was the Deputy Director General of Lao National Radio and Television, where he started foreign language transmissions. In 1994, he founded the Vientiane News, now an English language daily. In 1998, he started the French weekly Le Renovateur, and later, initiated the English and French news at the Lao National Television. As the Vice President of the Lao Journalists Association, he has focused efforts on the upgrading of skills for Lao journalists and contributed to enhance relations and cooperation between the Association and other international organizations. Somsanouk plays an important role in reviving and promoting Lao culture and has written a number of books on the subject.
Amir Muhammad (Malaysia)
Amir Muhammad is a Malaysian writer, publisher, and occasional moviemaker. He has been writing for the Malaysian print media since the age of 14. His films and documentaries have been shown in many international film festivals including Sundance and Berlin. Two of them, The Last Communist and Village People Radio Show, are banned in Malaysia. He set up Matahari Books in 2007 to publish non-fiction and film-related books on Malaysia. His latest book is 120 Malay Movies (2010), a look at the cinema of the studio system of 1948-72.
Thaiddhi was born in Yangon and has been attending filmmaking workshops in Yangon and working as an independent documentary filmmaker since 2005. He received a scholarship to attend Czech National Film Academy—FAMU—for a 3-year master’s degree program in English Cinema and Digital Media. In 2011, he co-founded the first Burmese film festival: the Wathann Film Festival in Yangon. The Wathann Film Festival works to gather and inspire a wide network of young people and filmmakers invested in independent filmmaking with artistic ambitions.
Francis Joseph A. Cruz (Philippines)
Francis Joseph "Oggs" Cruz discovered his passion for cinema during college in Ateneo de Manila University. After college, set on entering film school, he was instead pushed to take up law in the University of the Philippines. He is now working as a corporate and litigation lawyer in Manila. Never losing his passion for cinema, he also manages his cinema blog called Lessons from the School of Inattention, contributes for Philippine Star and Philippine Free Press, and is the Philippine correspondent for Twitch. He has contributed for film books on the Philippine New Wave and Kidlat Tahimik. He attended the 2011 edition of the Berlinale Talent Campus as part of the Talent Press.
Aishah Abu Bakar (Singapore)
Aishah Abu Bakar was previously the Programming Manager of Moving Images at The Substation. She was in charge of organizing film screenings and related events, such as the Singapore Short Film Awards, the Experimental Film Forum, Singapore Indie Doc Fest, and First Take, a regular running local platform for first time filmmakers. Before that, she been a Film Traffic Coordinator for 2007 and 2009 editions of the Singapore International Film Festival, and has had a hand in television productions for Mediacorp’s Channel NewsAsia and Suria. She is the current Programme and Film Traffic Manager for the Singapore International Film Festival.
Kong Rithdee (Thailand)
Kong Rithdee has been writing about movies and popular culture at the Bangkok Post for 15 years. He also contributes to international film magazines and journals, such as Cineast and Cahiers Du Cinema. He is associated with Thai Film Foundation, a non-profit organization that promotes independent filmmaking in Thailand and Southeast Asia.
CÁT KHUÊ (Vietnam)
Cát Khuê has been a Vietnamese cinema columnist for Tuoitre newspaper since 2010. After graduating from the scriptwriting department at the Hanoi Academy of Theatre and Cinema, she worked as a scriptwriter for the Vietnam Documentary and Scientific Film Studio (1999-2006), and later, as a journalist for ThanhNien newspaper (2006 -2010). Cat Khue has written hundreds of film reviews and critiques, has won numerous awards for her journalism and documentary film, and has published two books of interviews with filmmakers and politicians.