Daily Xpress, which was among the media outlets picking up the inaccurate report, has the story in today's paper:
Insisting that she had not lied, Pornpatchaya explained she had received compliments on her film in an e-mail from the film market that runs in parallel with the Cannes festival. She claimed she misunderstood the e-mail to mean she had won an award.
Khao Sod newspaper broke the original story after Pornpatchaya told them her film had been a success at Cannes. The story gathered pace when Channel 3 aired an interview with her on May 25 and 26, and hit the headlines in May 26’s Daily Xpress. We ran a correction on May 28.
Pornpatchaya then gave an interview to Channel 3 to clear up the mess. When that didn’t help matters, she decided to hold Wednesday’s press conference, where she apologised for the confusion.
Inside baseball: I wish I had caught the Daily Xpress story (PDF) before it went to press, but the story was routed through a different desk than the entertainment section and put on a page handled by someone else, and by the time I caught up to reading it, it was too late. That's my explanation.
I know the difference between the "Official Selection" and Short Film Corner.
But I still don't understand how Daily Xpress got the story wrong when its reporter actually talked to Chaya and her producer Prachya Pinkaew.
I talked to Chaya the day after the Daily Xpress story ran, and her explanation about the misunderstanding seemed acceptable at the time. But that night she went back on Channel 3 and kept on with her explanation, which has only fuelled the controversy further.
I had tried to tell the young director, in so many words, "shut up and go make your movie", and I wonder if she would have followed that advice if the controversy would have died.
Pantip has threads about this issue here and here. And Manager has stories here and here.
The Bangkok Post's Kong Rithdee, who returned from Cannes to be surprised by the controversy, wrote a story about it last Friday (cache), and then a strongly worded column on last Saturday's Opinion page (cache):
She used a few English terms in her interview, she told me, and maybe the reporters of the Thai paper who broke "the story" didn't entirely get her meaning. And by saying on TV that she was part of the "Official Selection", she didn't mean official as in official, but official as in the Short Film Corner, though she knew that it meant not-so-official; and on TV she was too slow to explain her point to the host.
She went on Channel 3 again yesterday. I thought she'd say sorry that her misunderstanding - if she insists it's only a misunderstanding - had misled the viewers (including my mother!). And I thought the same TV host would admit that he was, at least, partly to blame for spreading the false information because he'd failed to do a fact-check prior to the interview.
But no. No admission, no sorry. They wouldn't let the 15 minutes of fame become a lifetime of shame, so the session on Friday bordered on a twisting of the truth that would have stunned even the most pliable contortionist. Cannes, they said, is such a complex film festival that we're confused about the awards. The host spent much time defending his subject. Is it such an undignified gesture for the people in this country to publicly say sorry? Not the politicians, not the bureaucrats, not the filmmakers - and not the journalists. (Had this happened in Korea, someone might have hanged himself!)
The saddest thing is the real talent who genuinely was in the Official Selection this year wasn't interviewed by any TV channel.
That would be Pen-ek Ratanaruang, the director of Nymph, the only Thai film in the "Official Selection" of the 62nd Cannes Film Festival.
Update: Pornpatchaya's apology seems to have been accepted. Kong Rithdee writes about the trappings of fame in his Saturday, June 6 column (cache):
Pornpatchaya finally said it was a misunderstanding, and she publicly apologised on Wednesday - a welcome gesture that came a little too late. Whether she skilfully lied or grossly misunderstood, is, I believe, only for God to decide.
Update 2: Revenge Tragedies actor Gary Daniels comments:
I have known Chaya Supannarat for the past 18 months personally and professionally. She is one of the most dedicated, hard working and professional film makers I know and one of the most honest people I know. Chaya would never lie for personal gain or any other reason. I have followed what has been going on in the Thai media and I know Chaya did not lie and it was all a misunderstanding. If you want to judge Chaya please judge her on her work and please do not attack her personally or her integrity. Chaya is a wonderful human being. We have all made mistakes at one time or another and have needed understanding and compassion, please extend those same courtesies to Chaya at this time. Thank you.
And hopefully for everyone, there will someday be a chance to judge Chaya on her work alone.