Blue Chair

Celebrating Southeast Asian Cinema

Project type: Organization
Executive Director: Sean Chadwell
Programs Manager: Vone Liosakoun
Advisors: Donna Lednicky, Vannaphone “Kino” Sitthirath, Nicholas Simon
Facebook: @lpfilmfest
Help independent filmmakers tell their stories.
Make a donation to Blue Chair today.

Film Independent’s Fiscal Sponsorship program opens the door to nonprofit funding for independent filmmakers and media artists. Donate today and help bring Blue Chair to life.



Lao and regional filmmakers work closely with Blue Chair to produce a free biennial film festival and community screenings. We aim to see a diversity of Southeast Asian stories told well and shared with the world, all while lending critical support to the nascent Lao film industry.


Focusing on the development of Lao filmmakers and building audiences for Lao and Southeast Asian film, Blue Chair creates spaces for networking and sharing knowledge and experience between established filmmakers and new voices. The most visible program is a biennial film festival, which includes exhibition, discussions, and networking spaces for professional filmmakers to connect and interact in a relaxed atmosphere.

Blue Chair directly supports Lao filmmakers through the Lao Filmmakers Fund, which provides small grants to domestic film projects. Film development programs include professional development workshops, support and guidance for the submission of Lao films to international film festivals, and the presentation of community screenings to the public.

The biennial festival is held in the UNESCO World Heritage town of Luang Prabang, Laos in early December of even-numbered years. This free, live event showcases 30–32 feature and short films from 11 countries across Southeast Asia and supports the attendance of film professionals from across the region. In 2024, regional short films will join the main program specifically to engage young Lao filmmakers and broaden their exposure to independent regional filmmaking.

Blue Chair Team

Sean Chadwell – Executive Director
Sean Chadwell (Ph.D., Literature) is most interested in what people are talking about when they talk about authenticity. From an academic background, he brings his experience living and working in the United States, India, China and Laos, where he has taught literature, writing and film studies courses and has published articles on advertising and film. In 2014 he first became involved with the Luang Prabang Film Festival, now Blue Chair, as a volunteer and joined as its executive director in 2019. Since that time, he has overseen the completion of the regional omnibus film Mekong 2030, brought the Lao Filmmakers Fund to unprecedented levels of support from 2020–2023, and produced the 2020 (online) and 2022 (in-person) festivals.

Vone Liosakoun – Programs Manager
Born and raised in Luang Prabang, Liosakoun joined the team in 2020. She played vital roles in the production of festivals in 2020 and 2022, including supporting logistics for the film line-up, travel, and festival printing. She oversaw the nightly activities at the main night venue, featuring Lao and Thai films. She has primary responsibility for office administration and bookkeeping and administers the Lao Filmmakers Fund (LFF). She recently managed LanXang Lab, a 3 day professional development workshop for Lao filmmakers. She also provides translation and coordinates with Lao government officials and Lao contractors.

Donna Lednicky – Advisor
Donna Lednicky brings her experience of more than 20 years in the US and abroad in non-profit arts management and fundraising in both the US and abroad to the team. Dividing her time between the US and Laos, she served as part of the festival production team for the 2022 festival and helped to organize community screenings across Laos in 2023. She currently provides fundraising, grant writing and grants management for projects in Laos. 

Vannaphone “Kino” Sitthirath – Advisor
A Lao filmmaker, producer, and co-founder of Lao New Wave Cinema (LNWC) Productions, Sitthirath is known for her work on At the Horizon (2012), and Expiration Date (2019). A new project with Lao director Anysay Keola, Run Son, is currently in development.

Born and raised in Laos, she studied at the Queensland School of Film and TV Production in Brisbane, Australia, and later earned a master’s degree in journalism and communication from Griffith University in Australia. In 1999, Sitthirath returned to Laos and began working as a freelance filmmaker and media producer. She co-founded Lao New Wave Cinema (LNWC) in 2012 with a group of other Lao and French filmmakers. The company is one of the leading film production companies in the Lao PDR.

Nicholas Simon – Advisor
An American/Hungarian citizen, Nicholas Simon founded the international film and television production company Indochina Productions in 2011. His filmmaking experience in Southeast Asia dates to the early 1990s. ICP produces and serves Hollywood studio films and Fortune 500 commercial advertising in over 14 countries, operating in Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, The Philippines, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, The Maldives, Singapore, Bangladesh, and Malaysia. Simon pioneered bringing big budget filmmaking to Vietnam with Kong: Skull Island. Another notable recent ICP production is Spike Lee’s Da 5 Bloods. Simon served as a Board Member of the Luang Prabang Film Festival, the predecessor of Blue Chair, from 2014 through 2022.

Make a donation to Blue Chair


For inquiries, please contact