BEST FILM GOLDEN SPACE NEEDLE: First Runner-up
Set in lush, rural Laos, this spirited drama tells the story of scrappy ten-year-old Ahlo, who yearns to break free from his ill-fated destiny. With help from his friend Kia and uncle Purple, he builds a giant rocket to compete in the dangerous Rocket Festival.
|May 22, 2013||4:30 PM||SIFF Cinema Uptown||Date has passed|
|May 24, 2013||6:30 PM||SIFF Cinema Uptown||Date has passed|
It's not easy being Ahlo. The 10-year-old Laotian boy is believed to be a bad luck charm and is blamed for several disasters that befall his village and destroy his family's home. While moving through the still battle-scarred landscape of Laos, Ahlo (Sitthiphon Disamoe) and his family meet Kia, a plucky nine-year-old orphan girl, and her eccentric "Uncle Purple" (Thep Phongam), a purple-suited former soldier with a weakness for rice wine and James Brown records. Determined to prove that he's not cursed, Ahlo decides to enter the local Rocket Festival, an annual competition to see who can build the biggest and best model rocket. With the help of Kia and Purple, Ahlo works feverishly and risks a potential explosion to get his design ready before the competition deadline. The Rocket effectively ratchets up the tension while also tugging at the audience's heartstrings in this moving tale of a misunderstood boy desperately seeking redemption any way he can find it. Writer and director Kim Mordaunt (Bomb Harvest) gets an expressive and moving performance from Disamoe, a former real-life street performer. The Rocket is also notable for being one of the first feature films since the end of the Vietnam War to be shot in Laos, the most bombed country, per-capita, on the planet. Mordaunt was able to gain unprecedented access to ancient Laotian rituals and festivals that have rarely been captured on film.
Kim Mordaunt has live and worked throughout Southeast Asia in Laos, Vietnam and Thailand. He has taught film-making and drama in Asian, Arabic, and Australian Aboriginal communities, and been a filmmaking mentor in refugee centers and prisons.
Sponsored in part by Delta Air Lines, Wells Fargo, Majestic Bay Theatres
|Principal Cast:||Sitthiphon Disamoe, Loungnam Kaosainam, Thep Phongam, Bunsri Yindi, Sumrit Warin, Alice Keohavong|
|Running Time:||96 minutes|
|Awards:||Berlin International Film Festival 2013 (Best Debut Film, Crystal Bear Generation Kplus Best Film, Amnesty International Film Prize)|
|Filmography:||Bomb Harvest (2007); Jammin’ in the Middle E; (2005); Copyrites (1998); Survival (1997)|