Bangkok Post Entertainment News
9FilmFest News – Bangkok Film Festival 2012 | Short Film Competitions 2012
By JOHN ANDERSON Article from: http://www.variety.com/article/VR1118034796
What's the best way to get film festivals back to Bangkok? For some, the answer is 9 Film Fest 2011, whose organizers are hoping that a Thai lucky number will bring them good fortune -- and a better future for fests in the city where film festivals have a checkered history. The 9 Film Fest will be the first such event in the Thai capital since the arrests and convictions of Hollywood producers Gerald and Patricia Green for bribery under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. The duo ran the Bangkok Intl. Film Festival from 2003 to 2006. Earlier, in 1998, Brian Bennett, an American and longtime Bangkok resident, had founded the original Bangkok Film Festival. Now, his 9FilmFest Co. has partnered with the newspaper Bangkok Post as a prime mover behind the new endeavor. "It was time for a new festival," Bennett says. "One accessible to everyone who can pick up a cell phone." The competition has only two criteria: the submitted film must feature the number 9 somewhere -- on a calendar, on a clock -- and it must not be longer than nine minutes. It can be on any format.
The jury will include directors Nonzee Nimibutr and Pen-ek Ratanaruang, actor Ananda Everingham, and Bangkok Post film critic Kong Rithdee, a former Variety contributor. Supakorn Vejjajiva, president of Post Publishing, says the purpose was to "support new and emerging filmmakers in Thailand." "By shooting a film nine minutes or less, everyone can compete on a level playing field," Bennett says. "So many filmmakers started with short films that I thought this was such a great opportunity." Deadline for submissions is April 22. Nine finalists will be chosen. Final judging, and screening of the finalists will take place on May 28.
9FilmFest is excited about the film submissions we are receiving. The film Algorithm was submitted including a Behind the Scenes accompaniment. Brian Bennett watched the Behind the scenes footage and was brought to tears of happiness. Brian said " I am really touched how the filmmakers got together, planned and shot a very nuvo film and submitted to 9FilmFest. We are not just about seeing films, 9FilmFest is about Making Films. Beyond Algorithm itself, the Behind the Scenes is touching and inspirational. I can see the whole team of filmmakers, bonding together to step toward their dreams."
Bangkok Post’s 9 Film contest has shortlisted 9 finalists from nearly 200 entries that show the creativity and richness of digital film-making in Thailand.
Newspaper section: Life
Published: 11/05/2011 at 12:00 AM
We thought we would draw 100, maybe not more than 150 entries, but by the time the deadline closed on April 22 we had received 184 short films, and considering the competition announced in early March came with the condition that every entry must contain the number “9? in the story, the number of entries spoke of enthusiasm the project was able to generate at such short notice.
We received films from students and the general public, and from faraway Belgium, France, Haiti (yes, Haiti!), Japan (Tokyo as well as Hokkaido). Among the 184 we have comedy films, romantic films, horror films, sci-fi films, animated films, political films, experimental films, the variety and richness of them all just plain dizzying. The number “9? was tossed in as a gimmick and, as expected, it was interpreted, twisted and toyed with in many ways: we have films called 9, 9 Seconds, 9 Minutes, 9 Hours, 9 Days, 9 Years Later, 9 Years Forward, The 9th Hour, 999, and other forms and variations of the number.
Even when the titles do not specifically announce the involvement of number 9, the stories make serious or make fun of the number. The most favourite take is to have a story set on the date 9, or to have the incident taking place at 9 o’clock. The keypad “9? on a telephone is also useful, as well as room number 9. There’s a film called 9 Phobia by Printip Patanin in which the character has a mortal fear of No. 9. And while there are many entertaining films, there are also those with serious political undertones, like 9th April 2011 (by Swedish Cecilia Sand Brinch), Hope to the End (by Chakorn Klomkasem), True Colour (by Somphop Saengkerd), Onkapayop Tee Hai Pai (The Missing Organ on Monday Morning) (by Ekarat Monwat), for example.
Claudel Chery is a doctor in Haiti who sent in his film, 9 Hopes in Haiti, and Dick Meehan is a 70-year-old who has entered the contest with his personal diary 9 Years Forward. Several Thai students on the short film circuit sent us their entries, and there are people in the advertising who also chipped in. We would like to thank everyone, and we really appreciate your spirit and effort.
The selection process involved myself, the multimedia team of the BangkokPost, experts at Thai Film Foundation (whose own short film contest sees at least 500 films every year), and Brian Bennett. I myself saw about 150 of the 184 entries, and it’s a really difficult process for us to have to pick only nine out of 184. We did it with weeping hearts because, since the rule is fixed, we had to exclude many films that some of us really liked. There are surely many more good films than nine.
The final results, with the prizes worth of 300,000 baht at stake, will be judged by four eminent Thai filmmakers/actors: Nonzee Nimibutr, Pen-ek Ratanaruang, Pimpaka Towira, Ananda Everingham, plus yours truly, as a representative of the Bangkok Post. Here here are the nine finalists. These films will be screened at the award presentation that will also feature concerts by Paradox, Calorie Blah Blah and Buddha Bless on May 28 at Parc Paragon. Come and enjoy.
- Directed by Meechai Tubphete
We see a home movie of two people who seem to be a happy couple. Then things slowly go wrong, from Day 1 to Day 9. The television reports deadly incidents, and someone is trying to force the door of their flat open. It’s apocalypse now, and the couple will have to hang on to each other. The film presents an interesting visual idea, and its sense of approaching doom can be taken literally or metaphorically.
Meechai Tubphete: ”The basis of the film came from my wish to make a film which would be simple in execution _ one location, indoors, minimum dialogue. The zombie theme came from my liking of George Romero and John Carpenter. The question I’d like to ask is, if hope, dreams and happiness die, would love survive?”
9 YEARS LATER
- Directed by Krisanai Piriyarangsan
A soldier is trying to find a right spot for an uninterrupted radio signal. He’s listening to a folksy mor lam channel, but keeps getting jammed by another station. He walks deeper into the forest, and soon we find out why his radio is behaving in a funny manner. A boundary is being crossed, and Thailand is not what we know any more. This is a political satire that dares to take on a huge subject with an acerbic sense of humour.
Krisanai Piriyarangsan: ”The film was made because I’m fed up with the political divide _ the coloured-coded conflict we’ve been forced to endure. I imagine what Thailand would be like nine years from now. The whole film contains only 10 speaking sentences and two characters. I want to say what I have in mind without concerning any ‘walls’ or ‘frontiers’.”
DEATH OF A BUTTERFLY
- Directed by Pongpun Yuencheewit
A woman’s voice is reading a letter to a man. Images of the world, trees, roads, fireworks, sometimes blurred, sometimes in passing, sometimes dreamy. We’ll soon discover why she’s reading the text to him, and what exactly are the images we’re seeing.
Pongpun Yuencheewit: ”Number 9 rhymes with kao _ to walk forward. The film was inspired by a woman whom I’ve never spoken a word to. Even one day when I knew I wouldn’t see her again, the inspiration was still there. It’s like Ton, the man in the movie, who still remembers Thida, the woman who reads him the letter.”
- Directed by Suphasit Tanprasertsupa
Nine floors resemble nine stages of a person’s life. The film takes us into an elevator that only goes up and never down, as the sad and unpredictable procession of life continues. It’s refreshing that the director is only 19 years old.
Suphasit Tanprasertsupa: ”The film is trying to portray to the audience the fast, flowing nature of life. There are many decisions in a person’s life that are crucial in defining oneself as a human being. In the film, the portrayal of life is done through the use of an elevator that’s going from the first to the ninth floor. We wish to explore the ups and downs of life and how some decisions can never be changed no matter how hard you try.”
- Directed by Rakphong Rakrien
A political allegory, the films mixes precise composition, self-reflection, and a vague allusion to the current social paranoia. It’s one of those films that will evoke rather than present, that will leave you thinking hard after the last shot ends.
Rakphong Rakrien: ”The film is about how we see the world as it is, without being attached to any certain camp. It’s a film made from the point of view of a Thai who lives far away from Thailand and who feels ashamed about what’s happening there. The film is very low budget. I shot it myself and starred in it myself. There’s nothing ceremonious about it because I just want to express my feeling, and perhaps to encourage other people to begin thinking about Thailand again.”
MAN WITH A VIDEO CAMERA
- Directed by Kris Clijsters
This film sent from Belgium took its inspiration clearly from the 1929 Soviet experimental film Man With a Movie Camera. This non-narrative montage takes us to see Bangkok in its state of flux, the ongoing change and the bubble of uncertainty beneath the surface. The haunting soundtrack adds a peculiar, ghostly feeling to the experience.
Kris Clijsters: ”I sometimes feel like the white alien in my movie, watching and being watched. I made the film out of many hours of video I collected in the past years, with a soundtrack especially made by Koen Veldeman. This is how I see and feel Bangkok, a city of change. It’s a film about the beauty of Bangkok and the things taken away but also the hope that will always prevail.”
- Directed by Kanin Ramasoot
It’s a comedy, and we admire the ability of the filmmaker to create a light-hearted and cartoonish story lasting under 9 minutes. It’s about a driver and his GPS machine. Human and robot get into a fight, break up, then make up, and our dependence on technology is proved irrevocable.
Kanin Ramasoot: ”My movie is about the relationship between a man and his best friend. The twist is that the friend is not quite human. The goal was to create a story that challenges the audience to rethink their values, yet always remains fun and easily accessible. I find that the festival’s rule to incorporate the number 9 into the movie pushes myself to think outside the box, and in turn this specific condition benefits me creatively.”
THE NUMBERMAN THEORY
- Directed by Eeji Shimada
This is a humorous, tongue-in-cheek documentary that plays around the number. It’s all nonsense, but the story of a man who’s obsessed with numbers and who tries to represents the beauty of Arabic numbers with his body has a charming wit. Unfortunately Shimada, who lives in Japan, won’t be able to join the event on May 28.
Eeji Shimada: ”In Japan we have Chinese numerals (they look like a combination of bars) but we usually use Arabic ones. I think Arabic numbers are very ‘sexy’ and ‘organic’, especially the number 9, 6 and 8. They all have closed curves. Now in my mind, numbers started to have a life, they were moving and dancing. ‘One’ bowed and made a curve, then turned to be ‘nine’.
”This kind of imagination inspired me and I finally came up with the idea of an artist who wants to be numbers. He had been fascinated by numbers, and of course for him, ‘nine’ is the most mysterious and exciting dream to challenge.”
- Directed by Katan Thammavijitdej
A girl of 15 speaks with the world through the only device: her touch-screen mobile phone. The film captures teenagers’ mode of expression and anxiety and tells a sensitive story of a girl whose life seems confined to a rectangular screen. The audience, too, is put into a boxed position, trapped in the screen like the protagonist.
Katan Thammavijitdej: ”I started by thinking how to make a minimalist film with a lot of ideas in it. I wanted to put the audience into a new perspective of seeing. I decided to turn a movie camera into another device that serves as a direct communication with the viewers. I cast an actress who had no experience acting before, but she turned out to be very good. The film is heavy with post-production technique, with all the text I have to put it. But it came out OK in the end.”
Did you know?
Page 5 of 7