Ten long years of shorts
Still going strong after a decade, the Thai Short Film and Video Festival provides a stage for experimentation and innovation
|The Thai Short Film and Video Festival is a friendly and informal affair that firmly values substance over style. Above, stills from shorts featured at the cinefest. |
You can't always make a long story short, but the Thai Film Foundation has found a way to make a short film event a very long and engaging story. Now in its 10th year, the annual Thai Short Film and Video Festival is this city's longest running cinefest. And to mark its first decade the organiser has cooked up the most expansive programmes of homemade movies and international flavours, which kick off next Thursday, August 17 at Pridi Banomyong Institute.
From its origins as a paltry affair, the festival has matured over the years into an event that plays a huge part in grooming first-time filmmakers and eager cinema students. It had a hand in shaping the local indie movement before anybody knew what indie really was. And the fest's survival through the decade is possible despite the disheartening lack of steady sponsors and heavy promotion. It began, to put it bluntly, as a yearly gathering for film geeks, but it turns out that geeks can display the highest level of loyalty.
"We spent the early years proving to our audience and supporters that we were determined to make this a relevant activity among young Thai movie enthusiasts," says Chalida Uabumrungjit, chief of the Thai Film Foundation. "Lately we've had more support from cultural organisations, such as the Office of Contemporary Art and Culture, the British Council and Japan Foundation, which allows us to create a more extensive programme."
Chalida and her team have watched a few thousand shorts since they launched the fest in 1997. The first edition saw only 30 submissions, mostly from students. This year there were 330 movies sent in from all over the country, from a precocious grade 7 student to a 40-something. "We show everything sent to us, even though a portion of them are of amateur quality - or when there are only a dozen viewers at the screening," says Chalida. "We believe in providing an incubator for future film talents."
It's proved to be the right attitude. In the fourth year, a young director - Apichatpong Weerasethakul - submitted his experimental short to the fest. Today, the man has become an internationally recognised figure in contemporary cinema. There's also a long list of alumni of the festival who've gone on to direct successful feature films, like Pakpoom Wongpoom and Banjong Pisantanakul (who co-directed the horror hit Shutter), Songyos Sukmakanat (DekHor, or Dorm), and Tiwa Methaisong (Pee Chong Air, or The Sister).
Before alternative movies made headway into Bangkok pop culture, the festival had curated foreign flicks that became a counterpoint to the Hollywood imports that dominated the popular consciousness. European shorts, Chinese indies and Southeast Asian experiments by obscure filmmakers have been programmed into the fest since 1998, and exposure to these non-mainstream works paved the way for their wider acceptance in subsequent years when larger movie festivals took place in the capital.
"Some of the things we showed seemed to be a year ahead of their time," says Chalida. "So, right from the beginning, we never really showed the 'in' thing, but I guess that's all right!"
At a time when there are no fewer than five short film events in Bangkok, the Thai Short Film and Video Festival remains the bedrock of the hopefuls and the enthusiasts. It remains, at the same time, a friendly, rather informal affair whose focus is firmly fixed on substance and not style.
"And we hope to continue doing it like this," says Chalida. "We keep our fingers crossed and hope that with consistent support, we'll be able to continue doing it this way."
The 10th Short Film and Video Festival runs from August 7 to September 3, mainly at the auditorium of Pridi Banomyong Institute in Thong Lo. Besides the Thai movies in competition, the festival will screen a variety of short, feature-length and documentary programmes. Most non-Thai films will have Thai subtitles.
For a detailed schedule visit http://www.thaifilm.com, or call 02-800-2716.
Talk to Her: Three digital shorts by a trio of filmmakers from three countries. The ensemble includes Twelve Twenty, a nearly wordless love story adapted from Gabriel Garcia Marquez's book and directed by Pen-ek Ratanaruang from Thailand; About Love, another romantic ode adapted from a Chekov story and directed by Darezhan Omirbayev from Kazakhstan; and No Day Off, directed by Eric Khoo from Singapore, a story about a maid in the island city.
Long Night of Shorts: A memory-refreshing retrospective of the movies shown at the festival over the past 10 years. Past winners, juries, die-hard fans and geeky critics pick one movie they like and the selections will be shown at Pridi Banomyong auditorium Saturday, August 26, from 6pm until - well, way after midnight.
Graceland and other shorts by Anocha Suwichakornpong: Anocha is a Thai film student whose thesis work, Graceland, became the first Thai short to be selected by the Cannes Film Festival. The Thai Short Film and Video Festival will screen Graceland along with two early shorts by Anocha that have never been shown in Thailand before.
British Experimental Shorts: With the support of the British Council, the fest will screen two programmes of mind-blowing short films and animations. Key works include City Paradise, about the London underground domain; an experimental documentary, Thought Moment; and an intriguing work by the famed John Smith called Museum Pieces.
Black on White: A programme of South African short documentaries. The theme could hardly be more colourful: black Africans are asked to make films about white people in their country. The result is an insightful and provocative look at a society that was once torn and now wants to be healed. This is a programme exclusively curated for this festival.
Cinema with a Conscience: A package of vintage Japanese documentaries dealing with social conflicts and environmental problems - supported by the Japan Foundation and the Yamagata Documentary Film Festival. Highlights include Summer in Narita, about farmers protesting against the construction of Narita airport, and Minamata: The Victims and Their World.
some part of ThaiIndie Films in The 10th Thai Short Film & Video Festival 2006
Map of Pridi Banomyong (between Thong Lo Soi 1 and Soi 3)
ThaiIndie films at The 10th Thai Short Film & Video Festival 2006 by Thai Film Foundation
For the past 10 years, the Thai Film Foundation has organized and cultivated its Thai Short Film Festival to be the most important showcase for the local independent filmmakers. Some of the present studio filmmakers started from this venue. Thunska Pansittivorakul used to work as a volunteer for this festival for four years. Then he started to make his first short film in 2000. It was the same time I started www.kickthemachine.com. I put on the site some shorts that I thought were different from others at the time. And Thunskas shorts were part of the group.
Later on, I focused more on my filmmaking and went my own way. Our website has changed its archival purpose. Thunska formed his own group in 2004 called Thaiindie. The groups films were similar to those found in early version of Kick the Machine. But later they have acquired more members and now when you visit www.thaiindie.com, you will see a lot more refreshing variety. In only two years, their works has been shown at more than 40 venues internationally. Like the Short Film Festival, Thaiindie will undoubtedly be a breeding ground for the future great Thai filmmakers. It is a pleasure to witness and welcome this beginning.
- Apichatpong Weerasethakul
Pridi Banomyong Institue
65/1 Soi Thong Lo (Sukumvit 55)
Between Thong Lo Soi 1 and Soi 3 Tel 02 381 3601
Every programme have English Subtitle
For more detail please e mail to : email@example.com
Or Tel : 06 759 7112
for the festival detail
FRI 18 AUGUST 2006 8PM
Directors :Nontawat Numbenchapol & Rthit Phannikul
2006 / 90 minutes / color / mini DV / sound / Thai with English subtitle / Documentary
This document is told through collaged pieces of songs, which will sweep you with skateboards and unpredictable ending.
Love in skateboard brought two of them together. While Nontawat was graduating from Runsit University, he found that Rthit got some footages collected from traveling to skate in different places. Nontawat got a fun idea to edit those into a story. So he made them into a short film. When Jira Malikul of Hub Ho Hin Films saw this film, he got intesrested, so he offered them more fund. They collected more footages with Preduce, Rtihits team. And Nontawat submitted it as his final project in the university. After that he sent it to ThaiIndie so that it could be shown in the festivals.
THU 24 AUGUST 2006 6PM
Director : Chulyanon Siriphol
2006 / 40 minutes / color / mini DV / sound / Thai with English subtitle / Documentary
An fairy tale of a beautiful princess
Chulyanon Siriphol studied at Faculty of Architecture,Communication Arts Department, Major in Film and Video King Mongkut Institute of Technology Ladkrabang ( KMITL )Bangkok, Thailand. His film Hua Lum Pong won Special White Elephant Award for Best Short Film made by film makers under 18 years old from the 8th Thai Short Film & Video Festival- August, 2004 and screened in several film festival included Rotteradm International Film Festival 2005
THAIINDIE BASIC Fri 25 AUGUST 2006 8PM
www.thaiindie.com Short Film Show Case
9 short films
runtime 108 minutes
You are Where I Belong to
Director : Thunska Pansittivorakul
2006 / 10 minutes / color / mini DV / sound / Thai with English subtitle / Documentary
Journey, memories, many people and someone
Thunska Pansittivorakul graduated with a degree in Art Education from Chulalongkorn University. He is now a columnist for MT Weekly and also founder of www.thaiindie.com. He made several shorts and features documentary which have been screened in several international film festivals (his 5 films have been shown in International Film Festival, Rotterdam). His work Happy Berry was won Grand Prize award at The 4th Taiwan International Documentary Festival 2004. His debut 35mm film project "Heartbreak Pavilion" won a top award for PPP at Pusan International Film Festival 2005.
War of Fluolescent
Director : Nontawat Numbenchapol
2006 / 7 minutes / color / mini DV / sound / Thai with English subtitle / Documentary
Festival REC ROOM : Videotage 2006, Hong Kong Synopsis
When a war occur on a fluorescent
He is a director of Weirdrosopher World
Dusk & Dawn
Director : Nitipong Tintubthai
2005 / 12 minutes / color / mini DV / sound / no dialoque / Documentary
The 34th International Film Festival Rotterdam, The Natherlands
The rain's falling. Darkness's afoot. In a monastery, a little monk is studying a scripture. It is his routine to contemplate Buddha's words in silence. Outside chaos and disorder lurk under the veil of this silent night. Flooding into the street are cars. People walk and talk and deal. The night is not sleeping as she seem to be. And comes morning. Like yesterday and the day before, the sun rise. The little monk goes about with an alms-bowl to beg for food like their seniors. The Buddha disciplines wander into the world of chaos. The monks walk the same street as the creature of the night . Under the moonlight, the two world are separated, but under the sunlight, they become one.
Nitipong Thinthupthai (b. 1979) grew up in Surin, Thailand. He came to Bangkok when he was in grade 6. He has been living in the temple since then. After graduating from vocational school, he began working as prop assistant in films and commercials. His work includes Ong-Bak and Tropical Malady. He's currently working as a freelance prop assistant and has his own T-shirt shop, www.filmover.com.
Director : PATHOMPON TESPRATEEP
Visual Effected by Sathit Sattarasart
2005 / 5 minutes / color / mini DV / sound / no dialoque / Experimental MV
2006 Thaiindie Group Shorts curated by Apichatpong Weerasethakul : Curtas Vila do Conde - International Film Festival, Protugal
I like to present with the appreciation from the movement, rhythms and colorful of light during nighttime in the city then bringing them to make new composes to be the continuous visuals and exciting form and I would like to make lonely sense feeling o