Friday, May 15, 2009
Cannes '09: Festival notes part 1
Yes, that's a poster for the reality-TV comedy movie Saranair Haao Peng at the Marche du Film in Cannes. Sahamongkol must've brought it, thinking that gun-toting Willy McIntosh and his crew of crying, angry comedians will be an eye-catcher and rack up overseas sales. Sahamongkol's Power Kids is screening in the Cannes Film Market.
IndieWire talks to Fortissimo Films Michael J. Werner on the company's future after the sudden death in Bangkok of its co-founder Wouter Barendrecht, for whom the festival held a memorial service before Wednesday night's official opening. Fortissimo's slate at Cannes includes Visage (Face) by Tsai Ming-Liang in the main competition, and in the Un Certain Regard lineup there's Air Doll by Hirokazu Kore-eda and Nymph by Pen-ek Ratanaruang (co-production with Five Star).
That is Brillante
In the article Asian Alliance, The Hollywood Reporter's Jonathan Landreth contrasts the gritty indie cinema of the Philippines with the Hollywood-centric, action-driven approach of one of Thailand's big studios. He talks to Filipino director Brillante Mendoza, back in Cannes for a third time this year with his Palme d'Or-competing crime drama Kinatay, shot in a few weeks in March for around $100,000.
What's eating Gilbert?
In the same THR article, Sahamongkol Film International's Gilbert Lim is interviewed, and he talks about Ong-Bak 3 costing $15 million and says the day "will come" when Sahamongkol will have to enter into co-production deals (like rival Five Star Production has been doing for years with Pen-ek's films). Also, Sahamongkol's top action star Tony Jaa is getting "regular offers" to work with other Asian martial-arts stars, and that: "Tony has never made it a secret that he'd love to work with Jackie (Chan) and Jet (Li). All three of them together would be a dream project." Bangkok 1080 has comments on the article too.
Deutsche Presse-Agenture (via Earth Times) profiles the Filipino films at Cannes. In addition to Mendoza, other indie Filipino filmmakers heading to Cannes this year are Raya Martin, whose Independencia (check out the poster) is in the Un Certain Regard competition, and his Manila, co-directed with Adolfo Alix Jr. is in a Special Screening. A fourth film is Sabongero by Filipino-American Janice Perez, screening in the Short Film Corner. Check the Southeast Asian Film Studies Institute for more thoughts on these films.
Reuters profiles the Malaysian entry at Cannes, Karaoke, the feature debut by Chris Chong. It's screening during the Director's Fortnight and according to Reuters it's the first film from Malaysia at Cannes since 1995's Kaki Bakar (The Arsonist) by U-Wei Haji Saari. As an aside, Karaoke has a Thai connection -- it had post-production work done at Technicolor Bangkok.
Sad dark Singapore
Channel NewsAsia profiles the Singapore entries, characterizing them as "sad dark stories". These include the indie drama HERE (yes, dammit, all caps) by Ho Tzu Nyen. It's screening in the Director's Fortnight. And the Media Development Authority is at the Cannes Film Market with a slate that includes the pan-Asian supernatural thriller Blood Ties, which is among nine films green-lit last year by the MDA's Singapore Film Commission under its New Feature Film Fund.
(Photo via Daily Xpress/AFP - Loic Venance)