Produced on a budget of just B1,000, 26-year-old amateur filmmaker Nipan Chawcharernporn’s debut sci-fi short, The Deepest, rocked social media when it reached more than 300,000 views in just three days on YouTube (youtu.be/uk8kvGGUKow). Here, he discusses the sci-fi genre and Thai audiences, and how he managed to pull off that expensive look on such a tiny budget.
The response to your video was so overwhelming. How did you manage to attract that many viewers?
I think because I’ve brought something new to the table. We don’t usually see Thai science-fiction movies or short movies that tackle the subject of the universe.
How did you achieve such a high-quality look with just B1,000?
I have to clarify something about that budget. It does not include the CGI programs and filming equipment. The actors are my family and we agreed to do it for entertainment purposes. I shot most of the movie on green screen, creating the atmosphere by referencing images from Google. I played with the viewers’ perception through the composition of every element in the scene; acting, sound effects, special effect. I carefully constructed everything to reach a Hollywood standard that was very convincing.
Do you think your movie has the potential to interest Thai audiences in the sci-fi genre?
Yes, although we didn’t start our project in the hope it would end up a national sensation. Thais aren’t receptive to sci-fi made by Thai people. But as a matter of fact, I’ve received numerous comments and ignited discussion on my movie about scientific accuracy, which I think is a good start—seeing normal people discuss science on social media. It’s a good sign that in the future we will see more sci-fi films from Thai directors. People are more welcoming of serious issues and critical thinking.
Why are you interested in the genre?
I love space theory and the universe, but I also wanted to do something new. Sci-fi is nothing new in the Western world but it is in Thailand. I want this to be an inspiring piece for those who are already working in Thailand’s film industry, so they can realize that we don’t need a gigantic budget to make a seemingly expensive movie. I learned to make the most of my limited resources, and my movie has proven that I am capable of doing it—as you would be.
What was the most difficult part of producing this movie?
The screenplay. I wrote a script that would be friendly to Thai audiences: a drama, a love story and a space adventure film. I found myself studying Einstein’s time relation theory and doing serious calculations in order to make my screenplay convincing.
How would you like to see Thai cinema develop?
New ideas and people who are willing to be challenged and dare to do something new. In one scene from The Deepest, one character says to the captain, “We will be the first and the last Thai people that…” and the captain interrupts with a line intended for all Thai filmmakers: “Don’t you dare say that.” So never say never.