Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Three Thai projects in HAF 2011 selection

Films by Sivaroj Kongsakul, Phuttipong Aroongpheng and Nithiwat Tharatorn are among the 28 projects selected for participation in this year's Hong Kong-Asia Film Financing Forum (HAF).

Sivaroj, who made his feature debut last year with the existential drama Eternity (Tee Rak) has Arun Karn, which is being developed by his producers at Pop Pictures – Aditya Assarat, Umpornpol Yugala and Soros Sukhum. According to the Pop Pictures website, it's about "two soldiers whose last days were intertwined with their loved ones". Sivaroj, by the way, was recently accepted for this year's Cannes Cinefondation Residency.

Departure Day by Phuttiphong Aroonpheng, which is in the works over at Extra Virgin with producers Pimpaka Towira and Mai Maksuwan, won a script-development award from the Asian Cinema Fund at last year's Pusan International Film Festival. Here's what they have on the project:

The Rohingya, a persecuted minority in Myanmar, have been fleeing their country in rickety boats for years in search of a better life. In January of 2009 in Thailand, six boatloads of Rohingya were towed out to sea by Thai authorities, and five of them sank. Three hundred people went missing. Departure Day is a project dedicated to these victims.

The theme is the obscurity of identity, in the face of the fundamental right that all people have to inhabit their own identity, be it in the form of an official ID card or not. Everyone exists in the same world, and a single name can be shared by many – be they a refugee, a newborn baby, an unknown stranger, or even a celebrity.

The story concerns four main characters: a stateless woman in her ninth month of pregnancy, a Thai woman who has recently lost her five-day-old baby, an unknown man washed up from the sea and a Thai fisherman who rescues him.

And Dear Galileo director Nithiwat is working on something called Double Life of China Town, produced by Yongyoot Thongkongtoon at GTH.

Previous successes at HAF include Anocha Suwichakornpong's Tiger AWard-winning Mundane History, which went through HAF 2007. Other past recipients of HAF funds include Nonzee Nimibutr and Chartchai Ketnust.

The full list of this year's projects is at the HAF website (PDF).

HAF runs from March 21 to 23 in Hong Kong.

(Via Extra Virgin, John Badalu)

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