Friday, May 2, 2014

Pee Mak, Tang Wong share prizes from Director Association

Team Tang Wong.
Banjong and assistants
Siwawut Sewatanon and
Chutigan Seechomphu.
The record-setting blockbuster Pee Mak Phra Khanong split prizes with the acclaimed indie comedy-drama Tang Wong in the fourth Thai Film Director Association Awards.

In an informal ceremony on Tuesday night, the Best Picture prize went to Tang Wong, directed by Kongdej Jaturanrasamee, with runner-up going to Pee Mak directed by Banjong Pisanthanakun.

Banjong then took the prize for Best Director, with Kongdej as the runner-up.

Pee Mak, a romantic-comedy send-up of the century-old Mae Nak Phra Khanong ghost story, shattered box-office records last year with estimated earnings of around 1 billion baht. It was produced by leading studio GTH and had been nominated for several prizes at both the Subhanahongsa Awards and the Bangkok Critics Assembly.

Tang Wong, a low-budget indie effort by Kongdej, satirized Thai culture with a story of four working-class Bangkok teenage boys who have to learn a traditional dance in return for their prayers at a spirit-house shrine being answered. It has won several awards, including Best Picture and Best Director at the industry’s Subhanahongsas and from the Bangkok Critics.

The Thai Film Director Association also recognized assistant directors – an important position on film crews that is largely unsung. This year’s prize went to the team of assistants on Pee Mak – Veerachai Yaikwawong, Siwawut Sewatanon and Chutigan Seechomphu.

On Tang Wong, the assistant directors were Aekpatt Jomkoh, Tippawan Narintorn and Sebastian Kratzer.

Other nominees were Grean Fictions by Chookiat Sakveerakul, Mary Is Happy, Mary Is Happy by Nawapol Thamrongrattanarit and Love Syndrome by Pantham Thongsang. There's a showreel of all the nominees.

Banjong Kosalwat was honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award. His films include the 1985 crime drama Nuanchawee, which he also wrote. It starred Apichart Halumjiek with actress Sinjai Plengpanich in the title role. Other films include 1987’s Sai Nam Mai Lai Klub, See-Oui Sae Ng and 1996’s Khoo Kam 2.

Along with the awards, Thai Film Director Association president “Golf” Tanwarin Sukkhapisit ended her term and handed over leadership to Bhandit Thongdee. His films include the 2011 musicial biopic Pumpuang, the 2006 martial-arts drama Mercury Man, the 2003 horror The Unborn and the 2002 musical comedy Monpleng Luk Thung FM.

Bhandit Thongdee is elected president.

(Cross-published in The Nation)

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