Tuesday, October 19, 2010

1st Doi Saket International Film Festival ready to roll

More an 100 shorts and features from around 20 countries will be screened in the 1st Doi Saket International Film Festival, set for October 23 to 30 in various locations around Chiang Mai's Doi Saket District and Chiang Mai city.

The schedule is at the festival website, and there's the list of films and many special programs. You can also check the Thomat Chiang Mai Film Blog.

The line-up has a lot more going on than what I teased back in September. A lot more.

Among the highlights is Nok Ka Mhin (Four Seasons), the short by Chaisiri Jiwarangsan that premiered earlier this year at the Venice festival. It'll also be playing in next month's World Film Festival of Bangkok.

Special programs include Anocha Suwichakornpong's award-winning social drama Mundane History (Jao Nok Krajok), a retrospective on director Supamok Silarak (maker of the migrant-worker drama Colors of Our Hearts) and CalArts Shorts: Portrait Documentaries from a Woman's Perspective, which screened at last year's World Film Festival of Bangkok.

Other interesting films are Pan Fah by veteran cult short-film director Hamer Salvala, a trio of shorts from Malaysia's Edmund YeoLove Suicides, Kingyo and The White Flower, Monkey Love by Royston Tan and Supergirl, directed by Juliette Sales and Fabien Suarez from France.

Wat Doi Saket, high up on a mountain in rural Chiang Mai Province, is one of the venues for the film festival, including the Saturday opening ceremony at 5.

Organized by "Art" Patavee Viranuvat, the festival aims to be a grass-roots event, providing a platform to directors who struggle to find venues, and for audiences who wouldn't ordinarily attend film festivals or go to the theater at all.

"It's often been said that non-mainstream or independent films are not suitable for Thai people," Art told the Bangkok Post recently. "What we seem to have forgotten is that a lot of Thai people simply don't have the money to travel to a movie theater to watch a film. That's why there's a gap in communication – and the filmmaker misses out, too, because his work won't be seen by people who live in more remote areas."

There's also a competition, with awards for Best Film, Best Director, Best Cinematography, Best Production Design, Best Editing and Best Actor.

The festival will also see the presentation of two Lifetime Achievement Awards, one to historian Dome Sukawong, founder and director of the Thai Film Archive, and posthumously to the late Sitthipong "Sam" Kalayanee, an activist and filmmaker who was an associate producer of Burma VJ.

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