Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Pen-ek Ratanaruang, the amateur filmmaker

Pen-ek Ratanaruang is the subject of retrospective in the Contemporary Masters program of the 14th International Film Festival Kerala.

On Sunday, he took part in the Meet the Directors discussion, sharing a table with Amit Rai and Malayalam filmmaker Ranjith as the Indian press peppered them with questions.

The Hindu says Pen-ek just makes films for fun. Here's more:

I am an accidental filmmaker. Film is not my career. I have not studied filmmaking and I have not made any money from my films. So you can say that I am actually an amateur."

Five of his films are being shown, 2001's Monrak Transistor, 2003's Last Life in the Universe, Invisible Waves from 2006, Ploy from 2007 and his latest, Nymph.

As with the recent International Film Festival of India, where veteran filmmakers Nonzee Nimibutr and Yongyoot Thongkongtoon were quoted with their rather frank and dire assessments of the state of the Thai film industry, Pen-ek had this to say:

Mr. Ratanaruang said that in Thailand, films were not considered as part of the culture or as an art but only as entertainment.

“We have an independent film scene mostly confined to short films. Short filmmakers have more freedom. But overall the Thai film industry is quite healthy in terms of yearly financial turnover. The audience have started watching more and more local films, the production is also much better now,” he said.

Apart from stating the fact that film isn't considered culture or art in Thailand, he's pretty upbeat for a filmmaker who has not made any money from his films.

The IFFK runs until Friday.

Update: Here's another write-up on Pen-ek at IFFK.

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