The Nation loses indispensable World Film Festival director ‘Victor’
Nation colleagues are mourning the death of World Film Festival of Bangkok director Victor Kriengsak Silakong, who succumbed to a heart attack on Sunday afternoon.
[The Nation expresses condolences over the departure of our former colleague and talented director World Film Festival of Bangkok. May he rest in peace with his God.]
Adisak Limprung-patanakij, deputy CEO of Nation Group, said Victor had already proposed a budget and plan to revive the international festival for its 15th edition under The Nation, and his departure had saddened Nation colleagues and the Thai film community.
Victor’s family announced on Facebook that Victor had departed to be with God at 1.25pm on Sunday.
The post said Victor was rushed to Synphaet Ramintra Hospital in Bangkok after suffering pains in his chest and leg. He was still conscious when he reached the doctors but slipped into unconsciousness and died shortly after.
Victor was known as a film guru as well as a talented and devoted director of stage plays.
For The Nation, Victor was an indispensable resource for arts activities, said Adisak.
“I am shocked and deeply saddened by the sudden departure of Victor, my colleague at the Nation Group for a long time,” he said.
Adisak recalled that Victor always enjoyed his work as director of Bangkok’s world film festival.
Initially, The Nation launched the Bangkok Film Festival, but when that was taken over by the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT), Nation Group organised the World Film Festival of Bangkok – with Victor as the main driving force and director.
Victor took over the Bangkok Film Festival after Pimpaka Towira directed the first edition in 2001. He had played a key role in organising international film festivals and events in Bangkok ever since.
Adisak said Victor helped Thailand’s main film festival gain acceptance and success for five years before passing the baton to the TAT.
The Nation then decided to launch its own independent event, the World Film Festival of Bangkok, in 2003 with Victor devoting a year to selecting the best movies from around the globe.
Victor worked hard to choose about 80 top films, both mainstream in independent, for screening each year. His final selection was for the 14th World Film Festival of Bangkok in 2017.
Adisak said Victor liked to highlight the ground-breaking work of Thai independent directors, choosing their films to kick off the festival in the hope they would be selected for other international showcases.
Victor is also remembered as a stage play director, an actor, and a stage set designer.
He passionate and devoted when it came to his work in the theatre. He directed two stage TV plays for the Nation Broadcasting Corporation (NBC), “Reya The Musical” and “Empress Dowager Cixi The Musical”.
Victor also devised the idea of MangoTV, an NBC satellite channel airing cultural and entertainment programmes.
Adisak said he asked Victor late last year if he would direct the 15th World Film Festival of Bangkok. He agreed and had submitted his budget and plan earlier this month.
Adisak said Nation Group would do its best to hold the World Film Festival of Bangkok Comeback to honour the memory its beloved friend.
Pana Janviroj, former Nation editor and co-founder of the Bangkok Film Festival (World Film Festival of Bangkok), said Victor would always be remembered by those who worked with him.
"Victor was monumental in establishing the Bangkok and World Film Festival on the global cinema map. From Hollywood to Bollywood, from Berlin to Pusan, London to Tehran, Buenos Aires to Tele Aviv, he built a network of hundreds of global independent film-makers through the Bangkok and World Film Festivals. They will all surely miss his passion, artistic integrity, and aspiration to keep the art of cinema at the forefront of his responsibilities as the festival director. All of us who worked with Victor will forever remember him, dearly." Pana said.
Veena Thoopkrajae, former Nation features editor, said Victor would be missed for his knowledge, artistic taste, his love and expertise for all things related to cinema, his wit and humour, but most of all for his genuine friendship.
“I came to know Victor when he first set foot in The Nation as a new film festival director,” she recounted.
“Soon after that, Victor became a good friend to all of us on the desk. He was also a new source when it came to art, culture and gossip! He’d sit by my side and tell me a story in his lively way. On one occasion, he broke the delightful news of receiving an honour from the French Embassy – deservedly so. He said I should be the first one to write about it,” Veena said.
“At one period, we co-hosted short videos on the Nation TV website together, talking about cultural events like the Cannes film festival and musicals in Thailand. With his background in drama, he was so good in front of camera and his voice, pronunciation and tone were flawless.
“We shared a common love for culture – Indian culture and the singer Prince in particular. He’d talk endlessly about the beauty of India and the charm of Berlin – two destinations that we both love.
“Victor impressed many people in a variety of ways. To me, and I guess for my colleagues at The Nation, he was a dear friend. His vivid personality and artistry will always be with us.”
Nithinand Yorsaengrat, former Focus Editor of The Nation who worked as project director for the World Film Festival of Bangkok, said Victor was remarkable for both his intelligence and his passion.
“For a long time, you and I were a team. As soon as I first met you, I felt you were the right person to lead The Nation's film festival as director,” she said. “You were an intelligent person with great enthusiasm,” she added.
“Regardless of how you did it, you made the world a better place. … Until we meet again, my brother. I've always loved you and will always adore you.”
Victor’s family said a memorial service will be held from Wednesday to Friday (March 30-April 1) with the venue announced later. A cremation service will be held on Saturday April 2 at the Methodist Church Rangsit at 4pm.