By The Nation
TWO THAI MOVIES are off to see the world and find out what the world thinks of them.
Pimpaka Towira’s second feature, “Maha Samut Lae Susaan” (“The Island Funeral”), already the winner of the very optimistic-sounding Asian Future Film Award at last year’s Tokyo International Film Festival, is next testing the waters in Europe. Tokyo’s rosy assessment earned it a place in the Bright Future programme at the International Film Festival Rotterdam.
And the event in the Netherlands will also have “Motel Mist”, the directorial debut of renowned writer Prabda Yoon, in its Hivos Tiger Awards competition. Perhaps in a lucky break for Prabda, another Thai movie director, Anocha Suwichakornpong, is on the jury this year. Anocha won the Tiger Award in 2010 with her first effort, “Mundane History”.
The Rotterdam festival has long been an important stepping stone for Thai independent cinema. Aditya Assarat brought home the Tiger in 2008 for “Wonderful Town”, Anocha in 2010 and Sivaroj Kongsakul in 2011 with “Eternity”. And last year Jakrawal Nilthamrong’s “Vanishing Point” shared the Tiger with two other entries.
Interestingly, Pimpaka and Prabda have collaborated in the past, hammering out the script for her first movie as a director, 2003’s “One Night Husband”.
GDH 559 is in a hurry
Having announced the birth of their new company, GDH 559, on December 29, the proud parents – comprising 99 per cent of the crew from GTH – were already hard at work nurturing it on Tuesday.
They pretty much had to: That day, January 5, is basically part of the company’s name. The “559” comes from January 5 BE2559. The “GDH”, by the way, stands for “Gross Domestic Happiness”, they explained. That’s the index by which they measure their joy about working together.
If it all sounds like they’re having way too much fun, keep in mind that this is a pretty serious crowd. They emerge from GTH, which derived two-thirds of its acronym from GMM Grammy and Hub Ho Hin and Tai Entertainment, founded by Visute Poolvoralaks. GTH shut down at year’s end and Visute has gone off to do other things, leaving the rest of the team to try something fresh of their own.
GDH 559 will generate films, TV specials and series. In fact the gang announced their first two movie projects on Tuesday.
The first one will see “Pee Mak Phra Khanong” director Banjong Pisanthanakun resume his collaboration with his friend, actor-scriptwriter Chanthavit Dhanasevi, in a romantic drama. There’s no title as yet, but the director has said Chanthavit will co-star with Nittha “Mew” Jirayangyuen of TV soap fame, and that the film will be partially shot abroad. He expects to have it in theatres in August.
The other movie marks a return to full-length cinema for Parkpoom Wonphoom, who co-directed “Shutter” and “Faed” (“Alone”) with Banjong. Parkpoom has made no features since “Alone”, but did help on the omnibus films “See Prang” and “Ha Phraeng” and directed “Falling Rain”, a segment of “Kitarajanipon”, which told the story of the late conservationist Seub Nakhasathien.
The details of his new project have yet to be revealed, except that it’ll be billed as a thriller.