On Jun 9, documentary-maker Waraluck Hiransrettawat, 45, presents the Bangkok debut of Y/Our Music, her co-directorial project with British director David Reeve which first screened in Austin, Texas, as part of March’s South by Southwest (SXSW) film and music festival. The film explores the diversity in Thailand’s musical landscape by visiting various locations and communities across the country, from rural labor songs to urban pop music. Here, Waraluck dicusses what it takes to kickstart an innovative film-making project in Bangkok.

See also: The BK Film Awards 2015


How did you get funding for the film?

I looked for organizations, governmental or not, that wanted to support the message of my documentary. I sent a letter to the Thailand Ministry of Culture because they were the most obvious candidates to finance a documentary that promotes Thai culture.

Was it hard getting support for something so different?

It’s always difficult when you’re trying to push an idea that no one’s ever thought of and to gain followers. But if you’re determined, it’s possible. As long as what you’re doing has the potential to better society and enrich our culture, I say go for it.

What aspects of Thai music culture are represented in the film?

Every aspect. I want my audience to see that there’s a certain beauty in every kind of music. I take the viewer on a tour of our entire music culture.

How did you react when your film was selected for SXSW?

I felt overjoyed. It’s a huge film festival. We were so lucky to participate. The registration fee for these events is prohibitively high. And that’s just to register your film for consideration. I don’t have much money but I really wanted my movie to be selected with all my heart. Things went quiet for a few months and then one day I received the news that Y/Our Music had been selected for the festival.

What inspires your work?

Everything we hear in our daily life can be inspiring, even the mumblings in different languages you hear in Siam Paragon. I want to bring something new to the cliched atmosphere of Thai cinema.

What’s your next project?

It’s about a trip I took to Isreal. While there I visited a large rice field that at first felt foreign until something strange happened: I heard Isaan music coming from nowhere. That’s when I noticed that Thai workers were actually toiling in the field, and some of them were singing. It was a mindblowing scene; to hear songs by Tai Aoratai blasting across a field so far from Thailand. To see Thais bringing our music to a foreign land so filled with conflict was fascinating. We will begin production next month.
 
Watch the trailer for Y/Our Music:

Y/Our Music is screening once a day at Lido Cineplex from Jul 9-22. BTS Siam