The Cannes Film Festival is over and all the awards have been handed out, with nothing but mixed criticism for Pen-ek Ratanaruang's Nymph, the lone Thai film in the festival's "official selection".
But last night, Thai news reports led me to search for more Thai films at Cannes in the online catalog of the Short Film Corner. I found a couple of them -- the animated Victim and a live-action drama called Revenge Tragedies.
The latter is the one that's been getting all the press in Thailand the past couple of days. It's a student film by Pornpatchaya Supannarat. Listed on IMDb, Revenge Tragedies is a drama about a young Asian woman (Cindy Chiu) who's left with hard choices after she's raped by her boss (Gary Daniels). It was made as a semester project for Pornpatchaya's studies at the New York Film Academy.
Sensationalized Thai media reports say her film won some sort of award, but I can't find specific details about what competition it was selected for or where the award was given.
Nonetheless, Revenge Tragedies is real, and it caught the attention of influential producer Prachya Pinkaew, who has put Pornpatchaya, or just Chaya, to work at Baa Ram Ewe production company.
There's more from Chaya in a story by Parinyaporn Pajee in today's print edition of the Daily Xpress:
Women today are stronger, but they are still made victims by society,” says the 24-year-old director, who has just graduated from the New York Film Academy. “In the West, women can often move on with their lives, but for many Asians, rape is cloaked in shame and silence.”
In the last few years, most directors’ short films have been too personal and difficult to understand whereas Pornpatchaya’s is simple but with a powerful point of view.”
According to the Revenge Tragedies profile page at the Short Film Corner, the film was an Official Finalist at the 2009 Canada International Film Festival and an Official Finalist at the 2009 Las Vegas Film Festival. It's in the lineup for the upcoming International Film Festival Thailand in Phuket.
The Daily Xpress story says Prachya has produced Pornpatchaya's second short, Unfaithfully Yours, which is another tragic-couple tale that stars Byron Bishop and Pimpan Chalaikupp.
Here's more from the Daily Xpress:
I like to present real-life stories that we don’t see often in film,” says the young director.
Though always passionate about film, Pornpatchaya fulfilled her mother’s request that she study business at the University of California for three years before moving to New York to chase her dream.
“Her first two shorts show she’s very clear sighted and determined about making Thai films for an international audience,” says Prachya.
According to Daily Xpress, Prachya now has Pornpatchaya set to direct Bot Rian Ruedu Nao (Winter Experience), a feature written by Yuthlert Sippapak that will be executive produced by Somsak "Sia Jiang" Techaratanaprasert at Sahamongkol Film International. It's described as a dark drama about two guys who grow up together but then turn against each other.
Here's more from the Daily Xpress story:
Sia Jiang approved the project a few days ago after Prachya confirmed that it wasn’t an art film.
“I told him that it’s a cross between the drama Nam Pu (The Story of Nam Pu) and the teenage romance Loke Thung Bai Hai Nai Khon Diaw (Romantic Blue),” says Prachya.
The film is expected to be finished by next year.
Also in the Short Film Corner was Victim, the animated short by Nattaporn Yiamchawee, which was recently featured at the Gulf Film Festival. It's about a man imprisoned in a room without doors or windows. According to the Short Film Corner website, Nattaporn's short was featured in the Le Pavillon Les Cinémas du Monde.
Update: Chaya replied to an e-mail I'd sent her, asking her for more details about the Thai media reports. In short, it was a misunderstanding, she says. In fact, her film hadn't been entered in any competitions in Cannes, but she had received many compliments.
I am now being interviewed in many places and I am trying my best to spread the word that it was a compliment from people who have seen my film in Cannes, not an award.
(Photo from Revenge Tragedies via IMDb)