Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Apichatpong-a-rama: Checking into Mekong Hotel, curating in Edinburgh

In an interview with Apichatpong Weerasethakul, just before he won the Palme d'Or at last year's Cannes Film Festival for Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives, I asked the director what his next big project might be.

With the environment on his mind, Apichatpong replied that he wanted to do something about "water", specifically the Mekong, the lifeblood river that runs down from the Tibetan mountains through China, Burma, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam.

"I'm really interested in the situation about the Mekong drying up and flooding," he said last April.

As always with Apichatpong's projects, what form it will take be can't be determined until it's finished.

But it's in its early stage, and Screen Daily reports it's to be called Mekong Hotel.

It's unknown "whether it will be a full-scale theatrical feature or a smaller, more experimental effort", Screen says, but reports "whatever happens, it has been confirmed that Apichatpong will again be partnering on the venture with Keith Griffiths and Simon Field of Illuminations Films", the U.K. producers of Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives and Apichatpong's Primitive art project.

In the nearer future, Apichatpong has another project lined up: he's been named a guest curator of the 65th Edinburgh Film Festival, running June 15 to 26. He's among an all-star roster of curators that also has actress Isabella Rossellini, director Gus Van Sant, director Jim Jarmusch, indie filmmaker Sara Driver, film-score composer Clint Mansell, rock critic Greil Marcus, author Alan Warner and musician Mike "The Streets" Skinner.

According to the Scotsman, the curators will be selecting a mixture of new films, retrospectives and one-off events.

In addition, Mark Cousins, Linda Myles and Tilda Swinton are acting as creative advisers to James Mullighan, the Australian producer who was appointed festival director in December.

So no big surprise that Apichatpong was selected to be among the curators, since both Cousins and Swinton contributed to last year's "pink book" biography of Apichatpong, and Swinton has stated she's keen to work with the Thai director.

As for Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives, there's more screenings cropping up around the world, including the Portland International Film Festival and in Minneapolis at the Walker Art Center.

Update: See the above post.

(Thanks to @elehelp)

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