In the pipeline
Teddy Bear is part of the Thailand International Film Destination Festival.
At the Hong Kong-Asia Film Financing Forum (HAF) earlier this week, a number of Thai talents showed up with their new projects, and we wet our lips in anticipation. HAF is a respected project market where filmmakers looking for funding meet with potential investors and pursue possibilities to realise their films, which mostly exist on paper. To earn a place at HAF, directors submit their proposals for selection. This year, three projects by leading Thai independent filmmakers were picked for the matchmaking programme.
Anocha Suwichakornpong is pitching Forever Awhile, a film she'll co-helm with Bosnian director Sejla Kameric. The film will be a composition of images and fragments of memories, and is likely to capture scenes from both countries.
Next is an ensemble film by three directors: Nude Project is three short films strung together by Aditya Assarat, Sivaroj Kongsakul and Pramote Sangsorn. The tagline says it all: "Sex is young. It is old. It is forbidden. What is it for you?" The film's idea is to explore sex and sexuality in different contexts in our society.
Lastly, Apichatpong Weerasethakul is in high gear to start his new film _ the first after the Palme d'Or-winning Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives in 2010. The new work is called Cemetery Of Kings and involves sleeping sickness in a small Thai town, a young soldier, a middle-aged housewife and two phantoms who tip her off about a hidden cemetery. Fingers crossed, Apichatpong will start shooting soon.
From April 1-7, the Salaya International Documentary Film Festival returns. Hosted by the Thai Film Archive and the Thai Film Foundation, the fest will take place both in the archive's compound in Salaya and at Bangkok Art and Culture Centre and will screen about 20 films mostly from Southeast Asia, but also from Japan and India. After three years, it's now the most prominent documentary festival in the country.
We'll have more details next week, but let's look at some of the highlights: Boundary, a Thai doc about the Thai-Cambodian border conflict over Preah Vihear temple; Nargis _ When Time Stopped Breathing from Myanmar; Where I Go, the first feature-length documentary from upcoming Khmer director Kavich Neang; and The Cat That Lived A Million Times, a Japanese doc based on a beloved book about a cat that lives for a long time without falling in love.
In addition to a special section on documentary films for children, the festival will also host a workshop conducted by Indian director Sourav Sarangi.
Made-in-Thailand film festival
This is another interesting film bonanza that will place from April 3-9 at SF World Cinema. The tourism board, probably to promote Thailand for location shooting after the phenomenal success of the Chinese film Lost In Thailand, will screen 14 international films in the Thailand International Film Destination Festival, featuring movies that were shot in our country.
Details of the films will follow soon (we hope to see some vintage offerings, like The Killing Fields, The Deer Hunter, The Man With The Golden Gun and In The Mood For Love, though all of these are unlikely), but roughly we'll have fairly recent films. Those that have already been confirmed include Elephant White, an action movie starring Kevin Bacon and directed by Prachya Pinkaew (the 2011 film has never been released in Thailand); Mammoth, a drama starring Gael Garcia Bernal as a married businessman who comes to Thailand and meets a Thai woman (a convincing performance by Run Srinikornchot); and Teddy Bear, about a Danish bodybuilder who arrives in Pattaya and meets a Thai woman who owns a gym there _ it was in the competition in Sundance earlier this year.
More details will follow. But collectively, this is a festival that will show how Thailand is perceived by foreigners who have come to make movies on this shore.
Over the next two weeks we'll see a duel between what looks like the two biggest Thai films of the year, at least in terms of marketing and audience expectation. On Wednesday, GTH will release the ghost comedy Pee Mak Phrakanong, a new twist on the ancient tale about the famous Thai banshee who returns from death to live with her husband. This time, the story will be told from the husband's side. Mario Maurer takes the lead _ and that's enough to heighten the interest.
On April 4, M39 will release Ku Kham, the latest adaptation of the famous novel by National Artist Tomyanti. The point of (over)excitement is that Nadech Kukimiya, probably the country's biggest TV star, will appear in his first film role as a Japanese soldier who falls in love with a Thai woman during WWII. We'll have full reports on both movie next week.
About the author
- Writer: Kong Rithdee
Position: Deputy Life Editor