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Laos film festival nurtures big screen dreams

Luang Prabang has no cinema, but annual event is attracting growing global attention

Laotian filmmaker Xaisongkham Induangchanty is proclaimed the winner of the Talent Lab competition at the Luang Prabang Film Festival as his producer Abigail Lazaro takes the microphone. (Courtesy of the Luang Prabang Film Festival)

LUANG PRABANG, Laos -- Boating along a serene stretch of the Mekong River near the UNESCO World Heritage town of Luang Prabang, some passengers were overcome with emotion. "I screamed," said Xaisongkham Induangchanty. "We all screamed." Tears poured down Siege Ledesma's face. "I cried ugly," she confided. "Really ugly."

Their tears were an expression of joy, unrelated to the beauty of the surrounding scenery: Both were filmmakers attending the Luang Prabang Film Festival in mid-December, where they participated in a competition for young filmmakers seeking funding. On the boat trip, they were announced as winners.

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