Wish Us Luck

As part of their final project for their master’s degree at the Faculty of Artists’ Film, Video and Photography at the University of the Creative Arts, London, twin sisters Wanweaw and Weawwan Hongvivatana took a one-month trip by train from London back to Bangkok, the result being their first full-length film. Wish Us Luck will screen at House RCA from Mar 7 onwards. See our interview next issue.


Fatherland

Veteran director Yuthlert Sippapak is back with a politically-fueled film touching on the issue of instability in Thailand’s three southern-most provinces as seen through the eyes of two soldiers deployed there. Unfortunately Fatherland’s opening had to be postponed from last year and we’re still waiting on an exact date of screening. The good news is Yuthlert recently told BK that the film will definitely hit cinemas this year.


Karaoke Girl

Joining Nawapol Thamrongrattanarit’s 36 at last year’s International Film Festival Rotterdam was the debut project of Visra Vichit-Vadakarn, Karaoke Girl. Half documentary, half fiction, the film was inspired by the real life of Sa, a sex worker who fled to Bangkok when she was 15. She also stars as herself. The production has since featured at the Berlin Film Festival and is expected to screen in Bangkok cinemas this year.


Tang Wong

Director Kongdej Jaturanrasamee follows up his first indie film, P-047, with another, Tang Wong, a comedy-drama that follows four high-school boys who, in praying that they achieve their dreams, promise to repay their good fortune by doing a Thai dance. As in P-047, Kongdej tackles the concept of personal identity but here the focus is also on belief. The film has already traveled to the Berlin International Film Festival and is expected to screen here later this year.


INTERVIEW Nawapol Thamrongrattanarit

What are you currently working on?
My second full-length film titled The Year of June, which is one of three films sponsored by the Biennale College Cinema in Venice. So next week (Feb 18) I have to go back to Venice to film it. The project is kind of rushed as it must premiere at this year’s Venice Film Festival in September and it should screen in Bangkok not long after. I also have another project with GTH. I’ve written three scripts for GTH already—Bangkok Traffic Love Story, Top Secret and the first story in 7-Something—but I will also direct this time. It’s not finalized yet but work on the production should start next year. 
 
Despite international acclaim, 36 only got a limited screening in Bangkok. Why?
I knew from the start that 36 would not be a mainstream project and that it would be hard to find sponsors. So I started small-scale using my personal funds. The reason it got a limited screening was not only down to the theaters but my own doing. Screening a film in a big theater isn’t as simple as saying, “Hey I have this file, can you show it?” It can cost almost a hundred thousand baht. I didn’t have the money so I chose to screen it using a projector at BACC. The reception was great—it made me realize things can be done this way, too. This doesn’t mean that I’m turning my back on theaters. Once I got the money, I converted 36 to the system that House RCA can support. So that's why the film finally sceened at House in July.         

 
What support does the Thai film industry need?
I believe the government should help fund directors, as they used too. It means a lot, seriously. Let’s say we want to produce one film that will cost B10 million. If it’s not a mainstream production, it might only get B4 million in revenue meaning the director loses B6 million. No one wants to take a risk like that, so people produce only films that are guaranteed to succeed—compromising their art. If we had support from the government—let’s say B5 million—the risk would be much smaller and more people would be willing to take it.