Annual Best Film Competition & More

Since my last Newsletter the workshop has been busy with a number of projects and visits that have kept the students fully occupied.

In Mid September Simon Partridge paid us another visit, this time accompanied by Steve Louw.  Steve is from South Africa but is the founder member and on the Board of Directors running 3 Private Schools in Siam Reap in Cambodia.

As always the boys put on a demonstration of their skills and both Simon and Steve were most impressed. 

Unfortunately the video uploader to this web site is refusing to UPLOAD my videos but you will be able to watch them on YouTube by clicking the link on each of the descriptions.

16 year old, Jua Vang gave a presentation on How to Make a wooden spinning top (from a whole tree) No Lathe or chisel, just a sharp machete and a good eye to centralise the point and balance the shaft. If you watch it to the end, you will see just how good these spinning tops are and the fun the children have, playing with them … who needs social media and virtual reality games when you can enjoy playing with your real friends.

One of my newest students, 15 year old, Bounsong, made a short film about a day in his life.  This was his first effort at film making and, with his narration in English, he did a very reasonable job.  Take note of the meals they are given (the same ... day in and day out) and also the state of the bathrooms … it’s an eye opener!

Simon and Steve treated me to dinner at the Gaspard restaurant before returning to Thailand.

In October, after a short trip to Thailand for a medical checkup, I returned in time to invite Malcolm McNeill to the workshop.  Sadly, there was no time for the boys to prepare a presentation but Malcolm, who is from New Zealand and who visited the workshop when it was in its infancy, was able to meet the students and we enjoyed a lovely lunch together afterwards.

In early November, Stig Dronnen came over from Norway to visit the workshop.  With 5 days in Luangprabang, Stig was able to spend a lot of time with the students and presented us with a 2nd hand but excellent quality, Over Head Projector to replace the very old one that we were using. 

At weekends the students at the orphanage do not get food but are given instead a few thousand kip to buy food from local shops. This is a pittance and barely buys them a small packet of noodles ... which they eat straight from the packet because there is no hot water available. 

Knowing this, Stig bought enough good quality Pot Noodles for the workshop students to last 3 months and which I now hand out every weekend.

Stig also held a party at the end of his visit where ... as a good chef ... he cooked up a mexican dish of rice and chicken which the boys ate with relish and then went back for seconds and then MORE again!

During the party, Stig gave every boy a 150 Gb USB Thumb Drive so that they can back up all their files.  He also gave them all a watch and a lot of money prizes during the fun games we played during the evening.

Thank you Stig

for everything!

In the last 3 weeks the students have been hard at work making their movies for the annual Best Film Competition.  This is their biggest project of the year and with 3 Laptop computers up for grabs, the competition was fierce and the films simply amazing considering the background of these youngsters.

The winning film was made by 15 year old Bounxai and tells the story of a young boy who has an accident while looking for fruit in the jungle but is saved by another “Lost Boy”.  This is a real “Feel Good” movie and the cinematography is exceptional.

In 2nd place, 17 year old Nou Soua made a most imaginative film about a boy who falls into a river and disappears down a time funnel and enters another world.  Once again, the cinematography is superb and his second place well deserved.

In 3rd place, 15 year old On Line made an excellent movie addressing the issue of playing too many video games. The acting by the young boy in this movie is an OSCAR WINNING performace.

The four winning movies plus a film that won an extra award for the Most Original Film, are all on the Laos Children’s Workshop YouTube channel where you can watch them by clicking this link:

1st place ... My New Friend

2nd place ... Entering the New World

3rd place ... Because I’m Your Brother

4th place ... The Bad Boys

Special award for most Original Film .. The Hunting Life - by Lee Lao

Lee Lao one of my senior students is working in his free time at the “On The Mekong Resort” .  The Manager, Henry David, who has done a lot of work with Orphan kids in Burma, was interested in Lee Lao’s life at the Orphanage and especially with his studies at the Laos Children’s Workshop and to that end, Lee Lao showed Henry a film he had made earlier in the year for a presentation when we had visitors at the workshop.  The Film “Illegal Activity” is also on our YouTube Channel. 

Henry was so impressed with Lee’s film that he made contact with me and came out to visit the workshop.  To cut a long story short, Henry has many contacts and is hopeful that he can use these contacts to get 2nd hand cameras and computers for the workshop … and as a starter, he has already given us three 2nd hand but good quality, laptop computers.

Henry also very kindly agreed to come to the Premier Award Ceremony for our Best Movie Competition and present the awards.

Henry presents Bounxai his award of a Laptop Computer and Certificate for Best film

Nousoua receives his award of a Laptop Computer and Certificate for 2nd Place

On Line receives his award of a Laptop Computer and Certificate for 3rd place

Xengthor receives his award of a 250 Gb portable hard drive and Certificate for 4th place

Lee Lao receives his award of a Power Bank and certificate for Most Original Film

Group photo of all the winners.

Most of the students are now highly proficient in the use of Photoshop for creating Graphic Design ... as you will notice in the Logo's at the start of their movies, which they design themselves ... and Adobe Premier Pro for video editing and with the run up to Christmas underway, they will soon be working on the annual Christmas Card Competition.

Before that however, they will be visiting the "On The Mekong Resort" where Henry has asked the boys to make a short promotional video for his website. The resort consists of dozens of very old Teak wood houses built on stilts which, although beautifully renovated and modernised inside, maintain their old world charm on the outside. As all the Hmong Hilltribe people are spiritulists and firmly believe in Ghosts, Henry has sugested that the boys may also like to make a Ghost Movie using his resort and cabins as their film set. This would be great fun for the students and would be something to show his Guests on their first night!!!

As you can see, the workshop never stands still and the students are constantly improving their skills both in their use of the computers and the professional software we are using and in their vision, imagination and creativity. The workshop has a wonderful group of youngsters who are as keen as ever to improve their chances of a better future and follow in the footsteps of their predecessors in moving on to University and good jobs once they graduate from the Orphanage school.

I wish each and everyone of you good health and Happiness as the festive season approaches and, on behalf of the students and myself, thank you for your continued support.