Monday, August 6, 2012

In April wins special mention in New Delhi

Wrapped up on Sunday, the Osian's Cinefan festival was back from a two-year hiatus this year, with four Thai films in the program, among them Wichanon Sumumjarn's debut feature In April the Following Year, There Was a Fire (สิ้นเมษาฝนตกมาปรอยปรอย, Sin Mesa Fon Tok Ma Proy Proy, a.k.a. Like Raining at the End of April), which won a special mention in the best first feature competition.

Upcoming screenings for In April include a limited Bangkok release from September 13 to 26 at House cinema, and a run in Washington at the Smithsonian.

Lekha Shankar was in New Delhi for the Osian's fest, and she sent this report.

Story and photos by Lekha Shankar, New Delhi

Young Thai director Wichanon Somumjarn won a special mention in the Best First Film category at the 12th Osian’s Cinefan Festival of Indian, Asian and Arab Cinema, which concluded on Sunday in New Delhi.

The pioneering film festival, which started the trend of Asian-Arab festivals more than a decade back, made a comeback this year after a two-year break, and judging by the huge audiences, remains one of the most important film festivals in the country and the Indian capital city’s only one.

The festival has introduced most of the Thai "new wave" filmmakers to India, and this year’s festival had four noteworthy movies from Thailand, including Apichatpong Weerasethakul’s Mekong Hotel, Pen-ek Ratanaruang’s Headshot and Tanwarin Sukkhapisit’s It Gets Better.

Wichanon’s debut feature In April the Following Year, There Was a Fire combines a personal tale with political overtones of the red-shirt riots and fires in Bangkok in 2010. It won the award for its “reflective weaving together of image and reality, memories and desires, and the inner and the outer world of its protagonist through delicate situations and subtle humour, in the backdrop of social flux”, according to a high-powered jury that included top South Korean director Jeon Kyu-hwan.

Wichanon, whose feature premiered at the prestigious Rotterdam festival, said he never expected to win the award in a section that comprised of talented filmmakers from seven countries, but was delighted to win a prize in the country like India that produced the most number of films.

Among the two short films that the young director has made before his debut feature, his Four Boys, White Whiskey and Grilled Mouse had won an award at the well-known Tampere Film Festival in Finland in 2010.

Earlier this year, In April won the Film Critics Guild's Prize at the 10th International Festival of Film Debuts "Spirit of Fire"  in Siberia, and will now be screened at festivals in Italy, Japan and South Korea.

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