The first Thai person to win an award at Cannes -- he's won two, the Un Certain Regard in 2002 for Blissfully Yours and a jury prize in the main Palm d'Or competition in 2004 for Tropical Malady -- he is now also the first Thai person to be appointed to the Cannes jury.
He'll serve under jury president, American actor-director Sean Penn, along with Israeli actress Natalie Portman, Italian director-screenwriter Sergio Castellitto, German actress Alexandra Maria Lara, Mexican filmmaker Alfonso Cuaron and French director Rachid Bouchareb.
It's a great honor, says Apichatpong, but he doubts that anyone in authority in Thailand really cares. Here's more from the The Daily Xpress article:
Cannes is a kind of surreal film festival with a lot of formal procedures. It is a pretentious event but very charming to get involved in," Apichatpong says.
However, he doesn't think that he has been given a position in the jury to represent the Kingdom as such.
"This invitation will make me grow personally, but won't necessarily bring fame to the country. I was proud to represent Thailand when my film Sud Pralad won the Cannes Jury Prize, but now that I have seen the lack of government support for the film industry, I don't have any reason to feel that way any more," he says.
Though he has been continuously welcomed in prominent film festivals, Thai bureaucrats and the local censorship board have refused to allow the general release of his films. Apichatpong's controversial Sang Satawat (Syndromes and a Century), which was selected to compete in the Venice International Film Festival, was released in Thailand with certain scenes blacked out.
Syndromes and a Century: Thailand's Edition ended its two-week run at the Paragon Cineplex this past Wednesday, leaving some audience members baffled as to why the film was shown at at all.
Tropical Malady was polarizing at Cannes, and though it won the jury prize in 2004, there wasn't any congratulations from Thai officialdom. That same year, while the Tourism Authority of Thailand was putting on a big dog-and-pony show in Cannes, and had flown a planeload of officials and celebrities to attend it, Apichatpong wasn't among them. He flew to Cannes at this own expense.