LUANG PRABANG, LAO PDR: From December 7 to 12, 2018, acclaimed American filmmakers are leading an animation workshop in Luang Prabang for artists and screenwriters from eight Southeast Asian countries. With support from the U.S. Embassy in Vientiane and U.S. Mission to ASEAN, this workshop is produced in collaboration with the renowned American Film Showcase (AFS), a film exchange program funded by the United States.
Led by Academy-Award winning animation producer Aron Warner (Shrek; Shrek 2) and visual development artist Arthur Fong (The Croods; Kung Fu Panda 3), this workshop will engage participants through intensive, hands-on sessions to develop storytelling techniques through areas such as structure and art design. Through this opportunity, both Warner and Fong hope to support Southeast Asia’s growing animation industry and help create a network of animators throughout the region.
“There is tremendous growth in animation from Southeast Asia right now, with some companies in the region doing world class work,” Aron Warner said. “We hope to find stories that resonate more in this part of the world, and that can be shared everywhere else.”
Success for any artist also includes a skillset in marketing their work, which is why Warner and Fong will focus a portion of the workshop on how to successfully pitch a story to potential investors. By highlighting the business side of filmmaking, organizers believe a greater impact will be an economic contribution to the region, leading to increased interest in Southeast Asian stories.
”The region’s animation industries are growing rapidly,” said Rachel Gandin Mark, AFS Program Director. “Supporting local talent should lead to increased economic opportunity and new avenues for creative expression.”
Beyond a greater focus on Southeast Asian storytelling, workshop implementers hope the program will help stimulate greater networking among animators across the ASEAN region.
“My hope for this workshop is for these filmmakers to have confidence in their creations, and network with each other. The opportunities for great animation in Southeast Asia is rising,” said Fong. “I owe my career to the people who have built relationships with me, so it is a success for me to witness filmmakers from around the world connecting with one another.”
AFS promotes people-to-people engagement, offers contemporary insights into American society, and fosters understanding across cultures. Working with U.S. Embassies, AFS sends American filmmakers and television experts on cultural diplomacy exchange programs designed to spark dialogue and empower local communities to tell their own stories. These efforts bring world-class skills and knowledge to participants from some of the world’s greatest filmmakers. AFS is produced in partnership with the University of Southern California’s School of Cinematic Arts.