Thailand’s independent film community was shocked last night when Motel Mist, the debut movie of S.E.A. Write award-winning writer Prabda Yoon, was withdrawn last-minute from its nationwide screening.
The annonuncement, made on Motel Mist's Facebook page, came one night after the film's press premiere at Scala on Tuesday night.
“Postponing the screening of Motel Mist due to conflicts between producers [True Visions] and filmmakers over the content of the movie," it read. "We deeply apologize. Prabda Yoon, Soros Sukhum and Kataliya Paosricharoen.” The post has fetched nearly a thousand likes and more than 500 shares.
This morning, we spoke to Prabda Yoon, who told us that the Tuesday night premiere was actually the first time True Visions had seen the film.
"They were not OK with the content, so they told us afterwards to stop the screenings," he said. "Technically they own the film so there's nothing we can do, really. It’s so bad for the team that made the film. We did everything according to protocol. The team is so sad about it."
Exactly which scenes True Visions might have objected to, Prabda would not say. "Mostly they were concerned about the erotic scenes and the violent scenes. But I’m not really sure."
Sarinya Manamuti, co-founder of Silom's new independent cinema, Bangkok Screening Room, which was scheduled to screen the film starting tonight, is also uncertain what True Visions might have objected to.
"There are sex acts but not full-frontal [nudity] or anything like that," she said. "The film is rated R. It's not like it has anything to hide, or that Tuesday's audience saw anything they might not have expected."
In his latest interview with BK Magazine, Prabda also discussed how the film had already passed the crucial rating stage, receiving the green light from the Ministry of Culture's censorship board with an 18+ rating.
Where his team goes from here is uncertain. "We will talk to them and somehow come up with a solution," he said. "But for now everything is put on hold."
Motel Mist first premiered at Film Festival Rotterdam in early 2016, where Dutch film producer Bero Beyer (co-writer and producer of 2005's Paradise Now) said, "[It] blew me away. Because it was weird. Because it was taking me to places I had never been. And then something else happened: humor crept in; then awkwardness crept in; then discomfort crept in; then intrigue crept in and all of a sudden something transcended the form and the content."
Prabda Yoon is the S.E.A. Write Award-winning novelist of Kwam Na Ja Pen (2002). Motel Mist, which tells the intertwining stories of visitors to a love motel on the outskirts of Bangkok, is his directorial debut.