Horror-thriller, “Dearest Sister” has been selected by Laos as its first submission of a film in the Academy Awards foreign-language category. The film is directed by Mattie Do, regarded as one of Asia’s hottest new film-making talents.
The story follows an in impoverished young woman who moves to the city to take care of a wealthy older cousin. The older woman is losing her sight, but increasingly able to communicate with ghosts who provide them with a helpful set of numbers.
The Oscars submission decision was taken by a newly formed AMPAS Selection Committee, made up of six Laos film professionals. Logistical support was provided by the Luang Prabang Film Festival, a celebration of South East Asian cinema held annually in Luang Prabang, the cultural capital of Laos, (aka Lao Peoples’ Democratic Republic).
The film is a co-production between Lao Art Media (Laos), France’s Screen Division and Estonia’s Oree Films.
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Do, the country’s first female film director, previously made “Chanthaly,” another horror title. “Dearest Sister” and Do received development support in Cannes as part of its Fabrique du Monde support program. The completed film had its world premiere in September last year at the Fantastic Fest in Austin, Texas. It has since attended other fantasy festivals including Sitges and BiFan, as well as the London Film Festival and the Festival of Far East Film in Udine.
“The greatest challenge of making a film in Laos is having to work with no resources, hardly any budget, and almost no professional infrastructure for films,” said Do, in a prepared statement. “(But) because there aren’t any locked expectations about what a Lao film should be, I have the freedom to create something completely unique that hasn’t existed before.”
“Dearest Sister competing for best foreign language film is a wonderful development for the Lao film industry,” said Vithoun Sundara, director of the Lao government’s Department of Cinema.
The next edition of the LPFF will be held in December 8-13, 2017.