Thursday, April 10, 2014

Five projects in works by Asean Filmmakers in Residence

The Asean filmmakers in residence, from left, Sun Koh from Singapore, Anysay Keola from Laos, Ifan Ismail from Indonesia, Universe Baldoza from the Philippines and Min Htin Ko Ko Gyi from Myanmar. Nation photo by Anant Chantarasoot.

Filmmakers from Indonesia, Laos, Myanmar, the Philippines and Singapore have been chosen for the Thai Culture Ministry's Asean Filmmakers in Residence program, which pairs them up with prominent Thai directors as they work on feature films that are set in Thailand and explore cross-cultural issues that have resonance in other Southeast Asian countries.

Launched last September, the project sought entries from across the region. The finalists then came to Thailand to stay for a month, during which they were paired with Thai filmmakers as mentors as they worked on treatments for a feature-length screenplay and visited possible filming locations.

There's more about the project in an article in The Nation today. The filmmakers are:

  • Anysay Keola, Laos – Best known around these parts for his stunning debut feature At the Horizon, Anysay has fittingly collaborated with Slice and Muay Thai Chaiya director Kongkiat Khomsiri on a gritty drama involving prostitutes and boat robbery in the lawless Golden Triangle border area of Thailand, Laos and Cambodia.
  • Ifan Ismail, Indonesia – He's working with Nonzee Nimibutr on A Fishy Adventure, about an Indonesian fisherman who becomes entangled in a web of conflicts common to the region, including fish poaching, human trafficking and homegrown terrorism.
  • Universe Baldoza, Philippines – She's paired up with Pen-ek Ratanaruang to make a very Pen-ek-sounding film. Set in the Thai jungle, the fantasy follows a woman who is the only victim to remember what happened when an entire Filipino town vanished in one night. At the heart of the mystery is a strange fruit that's poisonous in Thailand but is a cure in the Philippines.
  • Min Htin Ko Ko Gyi, Myanmar – With October Sonata writer-director Somkiat Vituranich, Min is working on the romantic drama Love One Another, about the star-crossed relationship of a Burmese artist and a woman from a proudly anti-Burmese Thai family.
  • Sun Koh, Singapore – Mentored by Yongyoot Thongkongtoon, she has written The Wedding Proposal, about a Singaporean-Thai lesbian couple who plan to get married in Chiang Mai after Thailand passes a law permitting gay marriage.

The program is overseen by producer Pantham Thongsang, and all the films are in various stages of development. According to The Nation, the filmmakers will be back in Thailand in June to pitch their projects during a market event at the Culture Ministry's yet-to-be-unveiled Bangkok Film and Digital Content Festival.

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