Laos’ Luang Prabang Film Festival wrapped up its eighth edition (December 8th-13th) last week.

The festival’s top prize, the audience award, went to Tunku Mona Riza’s Redha. The Malaysian film tells the story of a married couple grappling with a raising a child with autism. It represented Malaysia in the race for the best foreign film award at the Academy Awards, but was not shortlisted.

The audience award is decided via a five-star online voting system.

The six-day festival screened a total of 32 feature films and four programs of short films. All screenings were made available to the public for free. There were also public discussions about issues in Southeast Asian cinema, including one about Muslim voices in Southeast Asia and a discussion surrounding this year’s SPOTLIGHT program on Thai cinema.

Meanwhile, LPFF also held its second Talent Lab, featuring ten film projects from ASEAN nations. The jury – including Jeremy Sim from Singapore’s Aurora Media Holdings, producer Kenneth Lipper, ROKKI’s Victor William and Astro’s Ho Hock Doong and Siti Helaliana – picked Lao-Filipino co-production Raising a Beast to attend the Tribeca Film Institute’s Network market during the Tribeca Film Festival in 2018. The film is about a young Hmong woman who becomes a bull trainer to pay for her brother’s education in the city,

Filipino project Cat Island picked up the Aurora Producing Award, which comes with a US$10,000 cash prize sponsored by Aurora. The film follows a woman’s journey to spread her mother’s remains over Cat Island in Japan.