Monday, August 23, 2010

14th Thai Short Film & Video Festival sets schedule, Alexis-Nika memorial tribute and Unreal Forest

The schedule for the 14th Thai Short Film & Video Festival is done. There's even a spreadsheet, which will come in handy because there will be movies showing on two screens, in the fifth floor auditorium of the Bangkok Art and Culture Center and in the fourth-floor conference room. In past years, the screenings have been confined to one room.

The programmers give us a lot to look forward to and think about.

Among the special programs this year will be an Alexis Tioseco and Nika Bohinc Memorial Screening, in honor of the film-expert couple who were killed in their home by gunmen on September 1 of last year.

Filmmaker Kidlat Tahamik offers his Each Film ... An Island?, an unfinished new feature. Kidlat explains:

Each Film ... An Island? ... an isolated mass of sedimented sights/sounds?

A cineaste’s filmography ... an archipelago of edited films ... Can island explorers decipher the auteur’s DNA from the celluloid bedrock?

In 2004 my house burned with all the VHS masters of my Video8 shorts. I was resigned – impermanence is a fact of life. How many more islands will submerge with the global warming.

On 2008 on the wild impulse, I e-mailed the Tokyo Video Festival: Were winning award videos archived? Hooray! Even non-winning entries by my son were digitized since 1989(our analog decade)!

My fossilized videos-an uncharted atoll of my filmless films. Let’s go island-hoping! Let’s see of re-incarnated analog Hi-8 images merged with HD open up a whole new road-film diary.

(Director's statement, YIDFF)

Please feel free to screen my unfinished film. Anyway all my films are unfinished is a way – because they might still be included in a future film. It is a compilation of excerpts for my past films and videos. So it is like a short film festival in itself.

I hope this version of the film will be a proper tribute to Alexis if you believe so. I am honored.

That's in addition to the S-Express Philippines program, which Alexis curated up through last year. This year, in tribute to Alexis, Francis "Oggs" Cruz, Dodo Dayao and Richard Bolisay have put together a program of shorts "that represent what the Philippines, as a country that is diverse and multi-faceted, truly is."

There's also S-Express programs from Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia and "Chinese".

Many other special programs have been detailed earlier. These include the Best of Clermont-Ferrand, from the world's biggest short film festival.

The musical documentary Baby Arabia makes its world premiere on September 1, likely with a mini-concert by the band. Baby Arabia is also tipped for the selection at this year's Vancouver International Film Festival.

There's the Animation Showcase in Tribute to Payut Ngaokrachang, the pioneering Thai animator who died in May. The progam features animated shorts from Japan, the U.K., Norway, Ireland and Spain and is highlighted by Payut's 20-minute short, A New Adventure of Hanuman (หนุมานเผชิญภัย (ครั้งใหม่)). From 1957, it's an anti-communist propaganda film Payut did while working for the U.S. Information Service, which has Hanuman the white monkey god fighting the Red menace.

Queer of Siam features a selection of Thai shorts, Coming of AIDS by Waasuthep Ketpetch, Ter Lae Ter (เธอและเธอ) by Sutthion na Lumphoun, Pre-Attitude by Panu Saeng-Xuto and Play Name by David Snyder. Program Queer: Generation offers an international selection of shorts from Belgium, Argentina, Brazil and Norway.

Another special program, In the Realm of Conflict is in observance of Bangkok's politically charged violence of just a few months ago, and has shorts about all sorts of conflicts from Georgia, Palestine, Iraq, Finland, Norway, the Netherlands, South Korea and Indonesia.

Beyond Yangon is a package of short documentaries that offer a rare glimpse inside the borders of military-ruled Myanmar from the Yangon Film School, a non-profit organization founded in 2005 by Anglo-Burmese filmmaker Lindsey

Also special this year is Pridi 110, a selection of six short documentaries on statesman Pridi Banomyong in observance of his 110th birth anniversary.

There's even Shorts for Kids.

Of course, the Thai Short Film & Video Festival isn't all about shorts, and so the Digital Forum program returns this year with feature-length works.

Among them will be the Thailand premiere of Unreal Forest, Jakrawal Nilthamrong's experimental documentary made as part of the International Film Festival Rotterdam's Forget Africa program. It previously played in Singapore and Milan. The screening coincides with a multi-platform art exhibition of Unreal Forest, set for the Numthong Gallery.

But the whole raison d'être of the Thai Short Film & Video Fest is the competitions, and the finalists have been chosen, with categories for student films (White Elephant for college students and Special White Elephant for younger pupils), the general public (the RD Pestoni Award), animation (the Payut Ngaokrachang Medal), documentaries (the Duke Award) and the International Competition.

The festival opens at 5 on Thursday with registration and then the first program at 6, with the premiere of Aditya Assarat's Phuket (set to screen in Bangkok later as part of the Director's Screen Project), the Georgian conflict film Aprilis Suskhi by Tornike Bziava and the Oscar-winning short Logorama from France.

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