The Luang Prabang Film Festival (LPFF) has announced that it is looking for applicants for its 2017 Talent Lab for Southeast Asian filmmakers, to be led by Tribeca Film Institute (TFI). The Lab, which will focus on grant writing and project pitching, will be held during the opening weekend of the eighth annual festival, which will take place 8-13 December.

LPFF is a yearly celebration of Southeast Asian cinema held in Luang Prabang, a UNESCO World Heritage town in northern Laos that lacks a working movie theater. With inclusivity as core to its mission, all festival events are free and open to the public.

Building off the first iteration of this Talent Lab in 2016, this year’s Lab will be expanded to two days, and include a pitching workshop and pitch forum with feedback from a panel of film professionals. A jury will select one project from the forum to attend the TFI Network market at the 2018 Tribeca Film Festival (18-29 April 2018).

Hosted annually by TFI, the industry market gives filmmakers the opportunity to build connections with a wide range of industry insiders who can potentially help them advance their projects.

TFI will then mentor the winning filmmaker or filmmaking team through the completion of the project. All participants in the Talent Lab will also receive preferential consideration for any of TFI’s grants.

In addition to the opportunity to attend TFI Network, participating filmmakers will have the chance to win a financial award to produce their film. Through the Aurora Producing Award, Singapore-based media investment firm Aurora Media Holdings will contribute  $10,000 to one film project.

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Founded by Justin Deimen, Terence Kong, and Jeremy Sim, Aurora Media is one of Southeast Asia’s leading media and entertainment asset incubation, investment and management specialists.

“We’re looking at the Talent Lab to bring new voices and vision to the filmmaking landscape in the region,” says Deimen, Group Managing Partner at Aurora Media Holdings. “Stories that challenge perceptions, yet with strong commercial leanings and an artistic core always interest us. Our hope is that we can support and create frameworks that will develop and grow this ecosystem.”

The 2016 Talent Lab had 10 participating film projects from 8 Southeast Asian countries and was led by TFI’s Manager of Artist Programs, Bryce Norbitz. At the end of the project pitching sessions, the Filipino documentary project BEASTMODE was selected to attend the 2017 TFI Network market, where their production team built connections and, later, signed with an American producer.

After a successful 2016 Talent Lab, Tribeca’s renewed involvement demonstrates their commitment to fostering the growth of the region’s film industries.

“We are honored to return to the Luang Prabang Film Festival for the second year in a row to support such talented and unique filmmakers from Southeast Asia, especially given the lack of US support to filmmakers from the region,” said Molly O’Keefe, Senior Director of Artist Programs at Tribeca Film Institute. “As part of our year-round work erasing barriers of entry to the industry for underrepresented filmmakers, we are excited to support another LPFF project this year by bringing its filmmakers to our TFI Network market to meet with members of the US and international industry.”

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To read more about the 2017 LPFF Talent Lab, access the Call for Applications here.