News from the International Film Festival Rotterdam got me to finally look at the full schedule, and I was amazed at the depth of the programming there, and at the sheer number of films from Thailand.
In competition in the short films was The Rocket by Uruphong Raksasad. It missed being named a winner, though. Congratulations to the three winners: As I Lay Dying by Ho Yuhang (Malaysia), Ah, Liberty! by Ben Rivers (United Kingdom) and Observando el cielo by Jeanne Liotta (United States). Twitch has more observations on Ho's win.
Still to come is news of the Tiger Awards feature competition, which features Wonderful Town by Aditya Assarat.
Just looking at the competition entries isn't enough, though. For a full picture of the Thai films that are being shown in Rotterdam, I have to take a look at the schedules by country, and then break it down further by section.
Exploding Cinema: New Dragon Inns is where the gold mine is. I knew that Pimpaka Towira's documentary The Truth Be Told: The Cases Against Supinya Klangnarong was screening in that section, but I wasn't prepared for the many Thai shorts in there as well.
Among the works is Black Air, an interactive art installation, with Apichatpong Weerasethekul credited as adviser. Directors are Pimpaka Towira, Jakrawal Nilthamrong, Akrichalerm Kalayanamitr and Koichi Shimizu (who did the music on Pen-ek Ratanaruang's Ploy).
Then there is another category within New Dragon Inns called Thai Dragons, featuring seven films:
- Hero by Thaweesak Srithongdee - Scoundrels, criminals and dictators can also be heroes in this mashup of iconic figures.
- Krasob by Nitipong Thinthupthai - Children use a bag of rice to practice Muay Thai moves. But they know they can also kick each other.
- Middle-Earth by Thunska Pansittivorakul - Premiered last year at the 11th Thai Short Film & Video Festival.
- Nimit (Meteorites) by Apichatpong Weerasethakul - Was part of the Short Films Project in Commemoration of the Celebration on the Auspicious Occasion of His Majesty the King's 80th Birthday Anniversary.
- The Planet by Uruphong Raksasad - Futuristic animated landscapes.
- The Rocket by Uruphong Raksasad - Farmers shoot homemade rockets. Just keep praying.
- A Voyage of Foreteller by Jakrawal Nilthamrong - Also to be featured in competition at the Clermont-Ferrand Short Film Festival.
Pen-ek Ratanaruang's Ploy was playing in the Sturm und Drang section, which IFC's R. Emmet Sweeney thinks is an odd placement for a film by an established director like Pen-ek, who's been on the festival scene for 10 years now. (Note to R. Emmet: Lucky 7 is a work by seven Singaporean directors, not Thai.)
More logically placed is The Unseeable by Wisit Sasanatieng, in the Rotterdämmerung program, which is for "monsters, blood and sex". I think The Unseeable has all those things.
(Photo credit: A still from Apichatpong Weerasethakul's Meteorites (Nimit), via IFFR press center)