Meet Beam Wong, a rising director whose latest film debuts at this weekend's Noise Market and has been described as "a nod to weird '80s sci-fi, fantasy, comic—Cronenbergesque stuff."
The Bangkok Underground Film Festival returns to Museum Siam this weekend (Jun 3-4) as part of Noise Market.
Founded in 2015, the festival showcases emerging young filmmakers and their experimental works.
One of this year's highlights is the premiere of Flummoxed Cocoon, an odd yet engaging short film directed by Beam Wong that tells the unlikely story of a songwriter transforming into a cocoon. Yes, a cocoon.
Dhyan Ho, one of the festival co-founders, has described the film as "a nod to weird '80s sci-fi, fantasy, comic—Cronenbergesque stuff."
The 28-minute film, for which Beam also recorded the soundtrack himself, screens on the first night of the event (Jun 3), alongside a People Choice’s Selection from the festival's edition earlier this year.
Ahead of the festival, we caught up with the director, otherwise known as Theerapat Wongpaisarnkit, a Silpakorn University-graduate who currently works as an editor and director at Salmon House.
What's the concept behind Flummoxed Cocoon?
To be honest, even I don’t know. I just asked myself how I wanted it to end, which is happily and romantically. The tone is quite weird and sort of dark. If you’ve seen the film I made for my final thesis, HUU [watch below], you’ll see some recurring motifs. So basically, it’s a musical with a weird vibe that has a happy ending.
What inspires you?
I like to do things in my own way. So many people when making a film care so much about crafting a sensible storyline. However, for me, I want emotions to build the tone of my film. I focus more on creating a movie that affects the audience in the same way music does. You listen to it and you feel it. Actually in this case, I made the songs first and then the film followed. So I just made a film out of the songs I created. Inspiration comes from collaging together everything I love or I’m obsessed with. It’s all an experiment. With music, I have never had any proper education.
Seems like you’re obsessed with chaos, wire, and cocoon?
I love cocoons. They're so messy from the inside out. I love messy. By putting such things into my films, I put myself in my work. These things have personal meaning for me, but I don't want my audience focusing on interpreting everything. I want them to enjoy the chaos, the wire and the cocoon in their own way. I'm trying to go against the idea of symbolical significance in films. I believe that lots of the time directors just put the things they like in their films, because they like them, then people ascribe some meaning.
What kind of feedback do you expect?
I just want to see people feel it rather than see it. I really hope that people will enjoy the music I made for it, too. If it's anything like the feedback I had for HUU, there will be a large number of people in the audience saying, ”What the heck?!”
What are opportunities like for experimental film-makers in Bangkok?
Film festivals like this help us a lot. This is such a good opportunity to extend the fanbase of experimental films. You won't be spoken about in this industry if no one can see your creations. Right now there are a lot of new faces winning recognition, which is a good thing. But it’s also easy for some people to act like an artist for attention without putting in the actual work first. Genuine or unique artists can be hard to find. I’m not trying to judge anyone, it's just what I've noticed from working in this field for years. I’m a new one and I can’t call myself a sophisticated director, but I did start making films when I was in grade 12. Making music, making films—they take real hard work.
Do you have any plans for after Flummoxed Cocoon?
I’m planning to sell my songs very soon. All are composed by me and sung by me. But I think I’ll take a break from making films for a bit. In order to make a film, you need to be able to dedicate most of your time and life into the whole process. It’ll exhaust your soul. It exhausts mine. However, if I had to choose which form of artwork really represents who I am, I’m definitely going to say movies.