A 20-minute short that captures a young couple's conversation about politics was among the top prize winners at the 13th Thai Short Film & Video Festival, which handed out its awards on Tuesday night.
The White Short Film/The Candlelight by Prap Boonpan won the R.D. Pestonji Award, the prize category for general individuals, usually accomplished independent filmmakers. The winner gets 20,000 baht plus a medal and a certificate. The award is named after Ratana Pestonji, the pioneer of contemporary filmmaking in Thailand.
The White Elephant Award -- the top prize for student filmmakers -- went to Prisoner by Prachaya Lampongchat, about a prisoner out on a work detail who becomes lost in the city. The winner gets 20,000 baht and a White Elephant figurine.
Filmmakers aged 18 and under get the White Elephant Special Award, and this year the winner was Nunikan Pichairat for A Corner (มุมหนึ่ง), a documentary about a social worker who adopts a 15-year-old boy.
The Duke Award for documentaries went to Throughgether by Sasikarn Buddhavana, about a mother with breast cancer and a family that must overcome obstacles to support her. The prize, which comes with 10,000 baht and a medal, is named for Prince Sanbassatra, regarded as the "Father of Thai Film" because he brought the first filmmaking equipment to Thailand and set about making films around the Palace and the Royal Family. He was nicknamed "Duke" by his brother, King Chulalongkorn.
For animation, the Payut Ngaokrachang Award went to Pittaya Werasakwong for Sink (Vi), an animated drawing of panda. The award carries a 10,000-baht cash prize and a medal designed by Payut, which was given to the winner personally by the 80-year-old pioneering creator of Thailand's first animated feature, The Adventure of Sudsakorn.
The International Competition winner was Three of Us, by India's Umesh Vinayak Kulkarni. The 14-minute documentary captures the daily routine of an elderly mother and father who share an apartment with their disabled adult son -- a guy who is determined to do what he can to take care of himself with only the use of his feet.
Here is the complete list of awards:
- Best Actor -- Nachya Soranunt from Perfect Gray, about a mother's love for her daughter. Directed by Kornkanok Srisomboon, it was an entry in the White Elephant college competition.
- The Pirabkao Award -- The Passion of Freshy by Piroon Anusuriya. The 14 October 73 Memorial Foundation grants this award and a 5,000-baht prize to one film that best expresses freedom and equality issues and urges social concern. An entry in the White Elephant college competition, Freshy depicted the brutal, torturous hazing of freshmen that continues every year on college campuses across Thailand. If they can stop college women from wearing short skirts and tight blouses, they can stop the hazing.
- Kodak Film School Competition Award -- Red Man by Nuttapong Homchuen with cinematographers Isra Arieakanant and Tahuchan Ruengsri. The award goes to projects that were shot on actual (Kodak) film. They win 5,000 baht and are selected for the regional Kodak Student Filmmaker Program. Another White Elephant entry, this comedy takes Thailand's red and yellow color-divided politics and puts it into an office situation.
- Vichitmatra Award -- This award from the Vichitmatra Foundation goes to four films that "demonstrate distinctive achievements in filmmaking according to the jury’s judgment". Each winner gets 5,000 baht and a certificate.
- Super Tai FC by Nichakarn Tormtouch (Special White Elephant)
- Raisara by Amornlap Promsywan (Payute Ngaokrachang competition)
- Hungry or Full by Anuchit Muanprom (White Elephant competition)
- Whispering Ghosts by Taiki Sakpisit (R.D. Pestonji competition)
- The Duke Award (documentaries)
- Special Mention -- Empire of Mind by Nontawat Numbenchapol
- Runners-up -- A Life of Garoon Takulpadejkrai by Sittidech Rohitasuk and Uncover by Thiraporn Poo-ngarm
- Winner -- Throughgether by Sasikarn Buddhavana
- Payut Ngaokrachang Award (animation)
- Special Mention -- The Value of Tree by Salisa Piencharoen, Dae Ther by Thawatpong Tangsajjapoj, Raisara by Amornlap Promsywan and Destination by Mokhaphon Sanghirun
- Runners-up -- What Is My Art? by Thodsapon Thiptinnakorn, Abtakon by Thawatpong Tangsajjapoj and Pee-Bok Song by Chatchai Thammaphirome
- Winner -- Sink (Vi) by Pittaya Werasakwong
- The Special White Elephant (for filmmakers under 18 years old)
- Special Mention -- Bicycle by Veelayoot Gajangsri, My Best Friend by Tossaporn Riangtong, Do It By Myself by Phumrapee Sae-tang, Hurt by Woratep Tummaoros
- Runners-up -- Untitled by Rajapruk Tiyajamorn and Mike by Prempapat Plittapolkranpim
- Winner -- A Corner by Nunikan Pichairat
- The White Elephant Award (for Thai university students)
- Special Mention -- Buddhist by Vachirathan Ngoungsam-ang and Red Man by Nuttapong Homchuen, Pray by Janejira Chotpratum
- Runners-up -- Stained by Manasrawee Wongpradu and A Day by Misak Chinphong
- Winner -- Prisoner by Prachaya Lampongchat
- International Competition
- Special Mention -- Point of View by Avishag Leibovich (Israel), Nicolas & Guillemette by Virginie Taravel (France)
- Winner -- Three of Us by Umesh Vinayak Kulkarni (India)
- The R.D. Pestonji Award (for general individual)
- Special Mention -- Four Boys, White Whiskey and Grilled Mouse by Wichanon Somumjarn, Mr. Mee Wanna Go to Egypt by Nawapol Thamrongrattanarit, Hungry or Full by Anuchit Muanprom
- Runners-up -- Francais by Nawapol Thamrongrattanarit, Man and Gravity: Plateau by Jakrawal Nilthamrong
- Winner -- The White Short Film/The Candlelight by Prap Boonpan
- Popular Vote -- Pray by Janejira Chotpratum
More details about the various prizes are at the festival website.
I was happy to see that some of the films that I most enjoyed and remembered -- among them Man and Gravity: Plateau, Mr. Mee Wanna Go To Egypt, Francais, Four Boys, White Whisky and Grilled Mouse, Empire of Mind, A Life of Garoon Takulpadejkrai, Mike, Red Man and Pee-bok Song -- were recognized.
It also stirs memories of one more animated short -- Raisara by Amornlap Promsywan -- animated drawings on notebook paper that captured the spirit of Calvin and Hobbes as a student engages in epic imaginary battles against his monstrous teacher.
Congratulations to everyone and thanks to the Thai Film Foundation for putting on this great festival.
(Thanks Sanchai! Photo of winners via Chulayarnnon Siriphol on Facebook)