Friday, September 5, 2008
Thai Short Film & Video Festival preview: Director in Focus - Hamer Salwala
Considered an "early Thai independent and experimental filmmaker", Hamer Salwala is the Director in Focus at the 12th Thai Short Film & Video Festival. Five of his works will be shown on Friday night (September 5), covering the years from 1989 to 1997.
The earliest, 1989's War Before War (3 minutes) was inspired by news broadcasts of the Persian Gulf War, which back then were considered nightly entertainment. The short was screened in the Golden Camera Film Festival and Hamburg.
Boonthing, from 1991, was made as the result of the first Workshop on Experimental Film Production, co-organized by the Goethe Institut-Bangkok and the National Film Archive. It's the "story of a man who wishes to see through and visualize people's thoughts and feelings." The 13-minute film was an official selection at the 42nd Melbourne Film Festival.
The 7-minute Bat in May, from 1992, is an expression of Hamer's experience in the demonstrations of Black May, which culminated in a bloody crackdown by the military government against a popular protest movement that left 52 people dead.
Next will be his 1-minute Balloon, and then Wife, his 30-minute examination of relationships, sex and love.
Hamer primarily works as a photographer, and his work has been featured in many art exhibitions. He's also at work on a feature-length documentary.
The Director in Focus program starts at 6.30pm, and a question-and-answer session with Hamer will follow.
Other highlights for the Thai Short Film & Video Festival's second weekend will be the animation competition at 5pm on Friday, with Thai animators competing for the Payut Ngaokrachang Award.
On Saturday, starting at noon, there's the International Competition, with shorts from Israel, Canada, Japan, South Korea and France. Thai university students and cinematographers compete for the White Elephant Award for Best Student Film in screenings at 2pm and 6.30. In between, at 4pm, there’s more International Competition, with shorts from Poland, the Philippines, Germany, Ireland and Sweden.
Sunday’s screenings offer more Thai competition, with documentary sessions at noon and 4pm, and more student films and cinematography competition at 2pm and 6.30.
The Thai Short Film and Video Festival is being held at the Bangkok Art and Culture Centre, opposite MBK Centre and Siam Discovery. Admission is free.
(Via ThaiShortFilmFestival.com, festival catalog; cross-published at Bangkok Cinema Scene)