Monday, June 29, 2009
Asian Film Festival of Dallas has Thai spirits
Two Thai ghost films -- GTH's four-segment horror omnibus 4Bia and Five Star's thriller The Screen at Kamchanod -- are the Thai entries for the 8th Asian Film Festival of Dallas, which is set for July 17 to 23.
And those aren't the only Thai spirits. The festival is sponsored by Beer Chang and Mekhong whisky -- both pretty lethal poisons, from what I've heard. Never sampled them myself. Don't want to. But I'm sure the big, tough Texas filmgoers can handle it. Maybe they'll need the liquid courage to brave the Thai horror.
4Bia, of course, is already much-lauded on the festival circuit, is headed for DVD in the U.K. and has a sequel coming out later this year. It's making what AFFD calls a "Southwestern Premiere". 4Bia also gets some short-film support from Indonesia's Mo Brothers, whose Dara will be shown before the main feature.
The Screen at Kamchanod (Phee jang nang) has been a bit slower to gain recognition. From what I've been able to keep track of, the 2007 thriller screened last year in the Udine and Puchon festivals and it had a general release and DVD in Singapore. I've lost track of it since then. The AFFD screening is termed a "Dallas Premiere", but I'm not sure where else it's premiered. Must've had a ghost screening somewhere.
And that's what The Screen, directed by Songsak Mongkolthong, is about -- a young doctor is driven mad in his investigation of the mysterious case of an outdoor movie shown to ghosts. It is apparently based on an actual event that took place in 1987 in the Kamchanod forest preserve in Udon Thani province. Beyond the Mango Juice recently recounted the story.
And there's more than just horror at AFFD. From the Philippines is the drama 100, which is inevitably being referred to as the "Filipino Bucket List". From Singapore is Royston Tan's musical melodrama 881. There are even documentaries, among them Story of Spirits, about the Vietnamese diaspora after the fall of Saigon.