|The Gift, one of two first-place winners.|
The fact-based story of a young woman giving all to care for her comatose husband and the tale of a young man caught up in drug dealing were the two top winners of the Youth Short Film Competition at the International Buddhist Film Festival 2012 Bangkok, which wrapped up its four-day run on Sunday.
The Gift, a heartfelt portrait of a wife cheerfully devoting her life to the care of her comatose husband brought many to tears. A true story, it was from the SumThink Production team and directed by Saranwich Janusasranwat.
It tied for first place with The Stain (รอยเปื้อน), about a young man who is trying to wash a permanent-marker stain from his white shirt. It then shows how he got that stain as he hangs around with some bad people, despite the warnings of his father. Directed by Nukool Khamlert, it was produced by the Mod Media team.
Second place went to Missing, about an 11-year-old boy whose mother has died. After moving to a new town, he is befriended by a girl and learns new ways to fill the void in his life. Directed by Wakim Neamtubtim, it was produced by the Streamline Film team.
Third place went to the comedy The Angel of Luck (เทพารวย), about a somtam vendor who is addicted to the lottery. She worships the goddess of wealth in hopes of scoring the right numbers. Her henpecked husband comes up with a way to get her to concentrate on her work. It was directed by Jiraon Promon and produced by the Filmstopper team.
In all, there were 13 finalist entries in the contest sponsored by the Buddhadasa Indapanno Archives and other agencies, with workshopping and mentoring for the teams by well-known figures in the Thai film industry.
The first package of shorts, shown on Saturday, was particularly strong, and judges had a hard time picking the best, hence the tie for first place.
A crowd-pleaser was Streamline Film's Phop (พบ), directed by Supakit Seksuwan, in which a young man has the temerity to warn a blade-wielding market vendor against killing fish. Instead, he buys the fish and takes it to a temple to release it in a pond. Later, his wallet is lifted, but karma has other ways of paying him back, even if it means difficulties for others. Meanwhile, it seems his assumptions about the market vendor might have been wrong.
There was more comic moments in 13 (เสียบสาม) by team Krow, directed by Chaiyut Thanaudommongkol. In it, a selfish young man will do anything to succeed at a job interview, including butting in line at the motorcycle-taxi queue, not holding the elevator and taking the last sandwich on the lunch table. He's eventually taught a lesson, but in a nice way.
A darker tone was struck in Alternative by team Error, directed by Donlawat Sunsuk. It's a young guy's birthday and his mother wants him to come home that night to celebrate with her and eat cake. He has other ideas, which could prove to be fatal.
Women in a Room by Idea Production, directed by Athip Taechapongsaton, was a psychological drama in which a studious young woman is saddled with a selfish slacker slob for a college roommate. While one girl studies, the other yaks on her phone. The tension grows and grows until there's tears and a blade comes out.
Like the first-place winner The Gift, two other shorts dealt with illness and bed-ridden characters. Inevitable (หลับตาตื่น) by the Num-Rong team, directed by Thitiphun Bumrungwong, had a little boy with a respiratory ailment. His mother prays for his recovery at a homemade shrine at a nearby tree. Talking by the Wake Up team, directed by Pattaratape Reepairoj, has an older brother suddenly stricken with Huntington's disease. As he lays in bed paralyzed with his head bandaged, his siblings and mother try to cope.
And in Happiness by the Krapong Kongkang team, directed by Nuttawat Pattanasirisak, an eccentric artist is mistakenly thought to be insane and put in a psychiatric hospital. As he's being admitted, he's about to say he's not crazy, but then he sees a pretty nurse and decides to stay. For a little while anyway.
Let It Be by Girl Garden Cinema, directed by Anuwat Wisai and Suriyen Suakeaw, has a young man losing his job and being dumped by his girlfriend all in one day. He decides to move back home to his family's farm, bucking the trend of youths moving away from rice farming.
Anarchy in My Mind (ผมไม่ใช่คอมมิวนิสต์) by team Anyaprakard, directed by Nargon Srisophab, had more rural flavor, with a young man who lost his father in a mysterious incident. His mother can't answer his questions, so he seeks out a childhood friend to solve the mystery.