Monday, August 27, 2012

Short 16: Visual Element takes top prize

Visual Element, the top-prize winner in the R.D. Pestonji category.

Visual Element (ไฟ-นัยน์-ตา) by Wuttin Chansataboot, a surreal drama about a slacker artist whose subjects come to life, won the top award at the Thai Film Foundation's 16th Thai Short Film and Video Festival, which wrapped up on Sunday after a 10-day run at the Bangkok Art and Culture Center.

Other winners in the top-prize R.D. Pestonji category, named for the pioneering Thai filmmaker, included Dites Lui que je ne veux pas etre Sous-titre, a droll observation on subtitled foreign films that was most likely intentionally not subtitled. Directed by Ratchapoom Boonbunchachoke, a cult figure in the Thai indie film community, Dites Lui was also among the winners of the Vichitmatra Award for distinctive achievements in filmmaking.

Kong Pahurak was given the Vichitamatra Award for all three of his so-called 1102 entries – the surreal silent drama An Indiscreet Incident on Yotha Street, in which a man finds himself living with a giant black bird, and Shinda Gaiden, in which a young man tries to stay a step ahead of an ax murderer – both in the Pestonji competition, and his documentary, Manifold, a 4.32-minute record of an art exhibition by writer Prabda Yoon, Kohei Nawa and Kawol.

Another runner-up in the R.D. Pestonji competition was Enlighten, a comedy by Thanachart Siripatrachai about actors portraying Buddhist monks. It had them engaging in unmonklike behavior, like eating after noon at a streetside stall, smoking cigarettes and firing a prop rifle. One of the actors takes his role quite seriously and lectures his castmates to show respect for the monk's robes, but he himself has a dark secret. Enlighten also won the Media for Change Award.

Among the special mentions was the romantic drama Ja Daw's Choice, the debut of young Lahu filmmaker Tanit Jamroensuksakul. It was among films produced in the Holding Hands workshop for ethnic filmmakers by the Chiang Mai NGO Friends Without Borders, and was also shown as part of a special program that included The Assembly of Samurais, a feature-length behind-the-scenes documentary on Ja Daw's Choice.

Other films from the Friends Without Borders project won awards – Suthit Saja's A Belt and a Comb, about a poor mother's struggle to buy a belt for her schoolboy son, and Natpakan Khemkhaw's The Farmer, about an impoverished farmer's bad decision to sell his stubborn water buffalo and take out a loan for a mechanical tiller. They were both runners-up in the Special White Elephant category for filmmakers under 18. The Farmer also won the Pirabkhao Award, which highlights freedom and equality issues. The films had premiered earlier this year at the Fly Beyond the Barbwire Fence festival in Chiang Mai.

Also of note among the R.D. Pestonji winners was Take/Know/Low/Yee by Tippawan Narintorn, an assistant director at Aditya Assarat's Pop Pictures. Filmed in the Muslim community in southern Thailand's Satun Province, it's the story of a small rivalry that develops between two sisters. It competed earlier this year in the Clermont-Ferrand festival in France.

The top award in the White Elephant competition for undergraduate student filmmakers was Jirassaya Wongsutin's Welcome Home, about a young woman's reunion with her estranged father when he comes to stay with her after his own home in Bangkok is flooded. The two then reminisce as they journey to a farm in the provinces.

The Farmer, a runner-up in the Special White Elephant competition and winner of the Pirabkao Award.

Last year's flooding in central Thailand was also covered in a special program of flood films and in one of the documentary-category winners, Flood Way.

A runner-up in the White Elephant category included Sicker by Pitchaya Jarunboonpracha and Suppakorn Krutsorn, about a pair of survivors of a zombie apocalypse in Bangkok. The special mentions included Freedom Rhythm by Natapol Rintaka, about a young noodle vendor who enjoys playing his guitar. He's hired by a musician friend to make a record, but runs into trouble with the producer.

The Audience Award, voted on by ballots handed out at each screening, went to another White Elephant entry, the touching Hero by Thana Pattamapa, about a schoolboy whose garbage-collector father is too poor to buy him an Ultraman action figure. He makes one out of cardboard, but is taunted by his classmates.

There was no winner chosen for the Special White Elephant category, but one of the runners-up was Military Soldier Student the Military by Theeraphat Ngathong, in which a young man tries to change the channel on a boring TV program, but finds he can't. He then tries turning the TV off and unplugging it, but is unsuccessful. So he gives up and watches the show, and more friends show up to watch. Special mentions included True or False by Boonjira Phungmee, about a chubby schoolgirl struggling with an exam.

Computer animation dominated the entries competing for the Payut Ngaokrachan Award, named for the pioneering Thai animator. Such was the case with the winner, the fantasy Na by Kraisit Bhokasawat. But among the special mentions was the traditional 2D-style What Do You Want? by Sorasak Boonjarus, a strange tale of a giant baby with a magic pipe. Also from the animation category, the anime-like The Loser Princess by Dollada Chunjuen, was among the Vichitmatra Award winners.

The Best Actor prize went to Elvis Presley tribute artist Surachai Ningsanond, who was profiled in his son Supalerk's White Elephant entry, the docu-drama Never Die?. It's about a filmmaking son (portrayed by an actor) making an effort to reconcile with his imitation-Elvis father by making a documentary about him.

Other highlights of the festival included The Best of Clermont-Ferrand programs, BAFTA shorts, and the screening of this year's Jeonju Digital Project films, which included When Night Falls, dealing with the case of Yiang Jia, a man who became a symbol for injustice when was executed in 2008 for killing six police officers with a knife. He had complained of abuse and harassment by police  after his arrest in 2007 for riding an unlicensed bicycle. According to the Bangkok Post, the film has angered Chinese authorities and director Ying Liang faces arrest if he returns to his home country.

Photos of the winners are on Facebook.

The Loser Princess, a winner of the Vichitmatra Award.

Here's the complete list of award-winners, thanks to Sanchai Chotirosseranee of the Thai Film Archive and Thai Film Foundation:

R.D. Pestonji Award (best short film by general filmmakers)

  • Winner: Visual Element (ไฟ-นัยน์-ตา) by Wuttin Chansataboot
  • Runners-Up: Dites Lui que je ne veux pas etre Sous-titre by Ratchapoom Boonbunchachoke and Enlighten by Thanachart Siripatrachai
  • Special Mentions: Ja Daw’s Choice by Tanit Jamroensuksakul, Take/Know/Low/Yee by Tippawan Narintorn and Gorgonen by Ajon Srivardhana Kibreab

R.D. Pestonji Award International (best international short film)

  • Winner: Mon Amoureux by Daniel Metge
  • Special Mentions: Long Distance Information by Douglas Hart and Cavo d’Oro by Siamak Etemadi

White Elephant Award (best short by undergraduate students)

  • Winner: Welcome Home by Jirassaya Wongsutin
  • Runners-up: Floodway by Somporn Inaon and Sicker by Pitchaya Jarunboonpracha and Suppakorn Krutsorn
  • Special Mentions: Freedom Rhythm by Natapol Rintaka, Shape by Sarayut Vannagool and Celestial Space by Ukrit Sa-nguanhai

Special White Elephant (best short by students under 18)

  • Winner: No award given
  • Runners-up: Military Soldier Student the Military by Theeraphat Ngathong, A Belt and a Comb by Suthit Saja and The Farmer by Natpakan Khemkhaw
  • Special Mentions: True or False by Boonjira Phungmee, Day by Piyathida Supkut and The Nearer, the Farther by Panita Tintalay

Duke Award (best documentary)

  • Winner: It Was My desire to Have My Very Own Space by Thip Tang
  • Runners-up: My Noon by Tossaphon Riantong and Flood Way by Preecha Srisuwan
  • Special Mention: Peaceful Death by Panumai Tirapatpibul

Payut Ngaokrachan Award (best animation)

  • Winner: Na by Kraisit Bhokasawat
  • Runners-up: Times by Pidok Moomuensri and The Factory by Ekarach Kaewmahing
  • Special Mentions: Tiny by Phat Thiramongkol, What Do You Want? by Sorasak Boonjarus, The Way Up by Chuennapa Rattanachewakorn

Vichitmatra Award (given by the Vichitmatra Foundation for distinctive achievements in filmmaker)

  • S.I.C.K by Pitchayakorn Sangsuk
  • The Loser Princess by Dollada Chunjuen
  • Kong Pahurak, for all three of his films –  An Indiscreet Incident on Yotha Street, Shinda Gaiden and Manifold
  • Dites Lui que je ne veux pas etre Sous-titre by Ratchapoom Boonbunchachoke

Pirabkhao Award (given by the 14 October 73 Memorial Foundation for films highlighting freedom and equality issues)

  • The Farmer by Natpakan Khemkhaw

Media for Change Award (for films representing the power of media)

  • Enlighten by Thanachart Siripatrachai

Best Actor

  • Surachai Ningsanond from Never Die?

Kodak Film School Competition (for best cinematography shot on Kodak film)

  • Shape by Sarayut Vannagool

Audience Award

  • Hero by Thana Pattamapa

Kizuna (Bond) Project Award (for high-school filmmakers, whose works are selected to go to the Asian Youth Film Festival)

  • Time by Sorawiss Wongprasit
  • Life by Chawalit Tatiwong
  • Destination by Payathida
  • Legend by Piyathida Supkut
  • Dancing Queen by Tassamon Kunyasai
  • Puppy Love by Sethawut Nhorthon

Sicker, a runner-up in the White Elephant category.

Note: This was corrected from the original posting. Please see the comments below for details.


  1. Slight correction. Kong Pahurak's Vichitmatra Award isn't from Yotha Street, but the fest gave him for his all three titles that was in competition.

    1. I only remember two from Kong – Yotha Street and Shinda Gaiden.

    2. The another one is Manifold from Duke Award Competition. The fest called these films in a collective as 1102 (because Kong sent all his films with that number in the titles - you can see here


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