Wednesday, March 23, 2011

HKIFF 2011: Apichatpong and Lee in Concrete Clouds

Award-winning indie film editor Lee Chatametikool's debut directorial feature, a drama set during the 1997 Asian financial crisis, was talked up on the sidelines of the Asian Film Awards at the Hong Kong International Film Festival.

Previously known as Past Love, it's now called Concrete Clouds, according to press reports, including a small blurb in the print edition of today's Bangkok Post (but not in Kong Rithdee's web report of the AFA ceremony).

The stories make official what filmmaker Apichatpong Weerasethakul has been talking about for nearly a year – that he intends to produce Lee's film.

He tells Film Business Asia:

"It's my new adventure that I want to start producing. I love having freedom, my producer gives me a lot of freedom, and so I want to support new generation of filmmakers by giving them this freedom to create a new style of filmmaking."

Apichatpong's Kick the Machine shingle will appear alongside fellow Thai indie director Anocha Suwichakornpong and her Electric Eel Films as well as indie producer Soros Sukhum, who's been behind such movies as Aditya Assarat's Wonderful Town and Sivaroj Kongsakul's Eternity (Tee Rak). Hong Kong-based Far Sun Films and actress-filmmaker Sylvia Chang is also aboard as producer.

Budgeted at $530,000, the production is a major sign of support from Thai indie directors for their long-time collaborator. Lee has edited Apichatpong's features since 2003's Blissfully Yours. His many editing credits also include Wonderful Town and he worked closely with Anocha in shaping the non-linear sequencing of her debut feature Mundane History.

Concrete Clouds will star Ananda Everingham. Screen Daily says the cast will also include Jen Suda.

The story is set in Bangkok during the financial crisis of 1997, where two couples are drawn together by a suicide. “There will be a comparison between the growth of the country and how the main characters grow,” Lee told Screen Daily.

The title is an allusion to the empty office buildings that greeted Lee's return to Thailand after schooling in the U.S. following the '97 crisis, he told Film Business Asia.

Shooting is set to start in September with the release planned for sometime around the middle of next year.

The project (PDF) was previously presented at last year's Hong Kong Asian Film Financing Forum and it also received support from the International Film Festival Rotterdam's Hubert Bals Fund.

Updates: Lee's project has also been supported by the Swiss fund, Visions Sud Est. And Film Business Asia has additional comments from Apichatpong on other topics, including Thai politics and policies.

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