Ash Mayfair, the Vietnamese director whose first film “The Third Wife” rocked the Toronto, San Sebastian and Chicago festivals last year, will join Myanmar’s The Maw Naing (“The Monk”) in going back to school. They are among five young talents who will take part in the third edition of Southeast Asia Fiction Film Lab (SEAFIC), a pioneering script and development lab created for Southeast Asian filmmakers.
The year-long program is designed to strengthen the quality of feature-length fiction films from the region. It involves three lab sessions: first and second in Chiang Mai, and the final session, called SEAFIC Open House, in Bangkok, in November. A parallel producers’ lab, called SEAFICxPAS, is run jointly with Festival des 3 Continents’ Produire au Sud.
Mayfair will seek to develop her “Skin of Youth,” a drama about a couple running from criminals as they raise money for a sex change operation. The Maw Naing’s “The Women” focuses on a group of women who belatedly understand that their biggest problem isn’t a lack of money but a lack of rights.
Other participants include Indonesian critic turned director Makbul Mubarak with “Autobiography,” about an unusual friendship between a military employer and a teenage housekeeper; The Philippines’ Petersen Vargas (“2 Cool 2 Be 4gotten”) with “Some Nights I Feel Like Walking,” a cross country odyssey with all the action taking place in one night; and Vietnam’s first time director Nguyen Le Hoang Viet with “Till the Cave Fills,” about a woman whose faith is tested.
The selections were made by a committee including Variety critic Maggie Lee, Brazilian director Karim Ainouz, and sales executive Hedi Zardi. SEAFIC is supported by the Purin Foundation, the Japan Foundation, the Alliance Francaise, and the Goethe Institute and others.