Saturday, December 31, 2005

Apichatpong Weerasethakul wins Silpathorn Award

I've ranted a lot about the Thailand Culture Ministry here, but one segment of the ministry that's doing good work -- actually promoting culture -- is the Office of Contemporary Art and Culture. Last year the OCAC started the Silpathorn Awards to recognize prominent living Thai contemporary artists.

The 2005 award for filmmaking goes to Apichatpong Weerasethakul, director of Tropical Malady, a jury prize winner at the 2004 Cannes Film Festival.

I like the criteria for the award. Winners must be a "Thai national [and] be aged between 30-50 years and still alive on the announcement day. Their works must have continually been exposed to the general public until present, as well as have been released in Thailand, creating a great impact to Thai contemporary art and inspiring young artists.

Seeing how an independent film movement has grown up around Apichatpong, and he's been tirelessly promoting experimental films, he definitely qualifies.

More about the award can be found at

The OCAC, by the way, was the office that backed the Tsunami Digital Short Films, on which Apichatpong served as a consultant.

As an aside, the OCAC has commissioned writer Prabda Yoon to write a book about the tsunami. He's the screenwriter who worked with Pen-ek Ratanaruang on Last Life in the Universe and the upcoming Invisible Waves, which is due out in Thailand cinemas on March 2.

(Thanks Thunska! Cross-published at Rotten Tomatoes)

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