Friday, September 3, 2010

Four Seasons: Thai indie films from Venice to Doi Saket

The 67th Venice International Film Festival is under way with two Thai shorts in the line-up, Nok Ka Mhin (Four Seasons) by Chaisiri Jiwarangsan and Woman I by Nuntanat Duangtisarn.

They are both part of the Horizons (Orizzonti) program for experimental features and shorts. It's a competitive section, and the jury includes Filipino filmmaker Lav Diaz.

Nok Ka Mhin premiered yesterday and was only showing once.

"I really don't know about the response because I'm still here in Chiang Mai," says Chaisri, who couldn't find sponsorship to cover his travelling costs to attend the festival. He put on a video installation in his Chiang Mai home and had 16 guests come over for dinner while his film was playing in Venice. "It is fine for me."

Chaisri said he felt uncomfortable in asking for help from the Culture Ministry, which had turned down his request for funding under the Thai Khem Kaeng (ไทย เข้มแข็ง, Strong Thailand) "creative economy" initiative.

But Chaisri says Nuntanat got money to pay for his flight from the Culture Ministry. Woman I is showing twice, on September 6 and 7.

Perhaps if Four Seasons wins an award, the Culture Ministry will throw a nice party for Chaisri at the Four Seasons Bangkok.

The 11-minute Four Seasons is "a portrait of a migrant construction worker on her days off. She goes to a waterfall to rest and let her mind drift." It's also "a portrait of a construction site at night with illuminating lights from the heavy machinery."

Woman I, which stars Nophand Boonyai and Apichatpong Weerasethakul's regular actress Jenjira Pongpas, "is about a man who believes himself to be the centre of the universe, surrounded by all the women in his life. Nop, a downhearted film director who was disappointed in love, begins to make a new film by creating a story about people whom he loves and is intimate with to compensate for his missing past."

Four Seasons will premiere in Thailand at next month's Doi Saket International Film Festival, which has announced its line-up of more than 40 shorts and features.

Chaisri, who worked as a photographer on Apichatpong's Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives, has another film in the first Doi Saket fest, The Illuded Moon.

Other Thai entries in the Doi Saket fest are:

  • Runaway Mind by Awattha Thanaphanit
  • Baiyok by Chalermkiet Saeyong
  • Chay, Gayvah-rar ‘n’ the Machupicchu by ( S.A.A )
  • Employees leaving the Lumiere Factory by ( S.A.A )
  • Peru Time by ( S.A.A )
  • Politically Lawyer and Narrative Cinema by ( S.A.A )
  • Pulsatile Mass by Marut Lekphet
  • Thoi Kham Thi Thuk Sap by Taiki Sakpisit
  • Spirits by Nutt Kruttanont
  • Candle by Panay a Karapanith
  • Ghost by Sihabutr Xoomsai
  • Wings of Blue Angels by Tongpong Chantarangkul
  • Place To Be by Wiwat Lertwiwatwongsa
  • The Butterfly Effect by Wiwat Lertwiwatwongsa
  • La Lunar by Wiwat Lertwiwatwongsa
  • Censored by Kong Pahurak
  • Ladybird by Kong Pahurak

Wings of Blue Angels stars Sinitta Boonyasak, Dolloros Dechapratumwan and Ananda Everingham, and was featured at 2008's World Film Festival of Bangkok.

Kong's Ladybird's Tears was featured at this year's Singapore International Film Festival. It is written and produced by Malaysia's Edmund Yeo, who also offers his Love Suicides, Kingyo and The White Flower to the Doi Saket fest.

By the way, Love Suicides: Prologue is competing for audience votes in the Filminute festival.

The Doi Saket fest also has the World Film Festival of Bangkok's CalArts Shorts: Portrait Documentaries from Women's Perspective, curated by Sompot "Boat" Chidgasornpongse, who's graduated from CalArts and is back in Thailand and hard at work on his feature, Are We There Yet?. The documentary is about train travel in Thailand and is shaping up to be an epic, possibly running more than four hours. It's produced by Apichatpong.

The first Doi Saket International Film Festival runs from October 23 to 30.

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