Monday, August 19, 2013

17th Thai Short Film and Video Festival opens with South Korea's Jury


Film experts come together to disagree in Jury, the opener of the 17th Thai Short Film and Video Festival on Thursday at the Bangkok Art and Culture Centre.

Directed by Kim Dong-ho, the artistic director of the Busan International Film Festival, the 24-minute satire has a film-festival judging panel of various nationalities at odds over what makes a great film.

Filmmaker Jeong asserts that a film should move the heart while actress Soo-yeon says it’s the message that matters. British film critic Tony (played by Tony Rayns) yammers on about the current trend of Korean cinema while Japanese member Tomiyama can’t fully express her thoughts because of the language barrier. And, Sung-ki, the head of jury, can’t control any of them.

In addition to Jury, the Thai Short Film and Video Festival will present its usual roster of local and international competition films.

For the Thai competition, the categories include the R.D. Pestonji competition for general filmmakers, named after Thailand’s pioneering auteur; the White Elephant competition for college students and the Special White Elephant for high school and younger students; the Duke competition for documentaries, named after Prince Sanbassatra, the “father of Thai film”; and the Payut Ngaokrachang competition for animation, named after the pioneering Thai animator.

Apart from the competition, other Thai highlights include The Death Trilogy, a compilation of three shorts by veteran indie producer-director Pimpaka Towira, My Father, The Mother and Malaria and Mosquitoes.

Sixteen finalists have been chosen for the International Competition, with the entries hailing from Hong Kong, France, Belarus, the US, Iran, China, Ukraine, Portugal, Japan, Lebanon, Switzerland, Sweden, Israel and Madagascar.

Among the special programs will be another installment of the S-Express shorts from around the region. This year’s selection offers packages from Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines and Chinese-speaking territories.

Another regular highlight is the Best of Clermont-Ferrand, featuring this year’s cream of the crop from the world’s premiere short-film festival. It's an always-watchable mix of quirky animation, live-action comedies and dramas and experimental shorts.

Another annual programme is the “queer” shorts. The theme this year is “Gender Doesn’t Matter” with films from Brazil, Sweden, Switzerland, Finland, Chile and Belgium.

And a special program this year will offer shorts about people with disabilities, with the films hailing from France, Mexico, Malaysia and Cambodia.

Among the visiting filmmakers will be India’s Umesh Vinayak Kulkarni, who will conduct a masterclass for registered participants. He will also be a judge for the international competition along with Thai filmmaker Lee Chatametikool.

A retrospective of Kulkarni’s work will feature five of his short subjects depicting unusual everyday lives, Darshan from 2003, Girni from 2004, Three of Us from 2008 and The Spell and Vilay from 2009.

The 17th Thai Short film and Video Festival runs from August 22 to September 1 at the Bangkok Art and Culture Center (closed Mondays). Screenings will be in the fifth-floor auditorium and the fourth-floor conference room. Shows start at 5pm on weekdays and 11am on Saturdays and Sundays. Admission is free. Not all the Thai films will have English subtitles. For the schedule, please visit www.Facebook.com/ThaiShortFilmVideoFestival.

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