By The Nation
The past few years have seen a spate of movies set in Thailand’s Northeast featuring characters speaking in the Isaan dialect. Most have been romantic comedies centred on rural folk – think the highly successful “Phoobao Thai Baan E-san Indy” – and now there’s another, “Hug Man” (“In My Hometown”), which is opening on Thursday (March 16).
Like “Phoobao”, “Hug Man” is entirely shot in the Northeast, its cast and crew are all locals and the soundtrack is Isaan.
It’s taken three years for director Worrawut Lakchai to fulfil his dream of making a full-length feature. A native of Nong Bua Lamphu province, he holds a master’s degree in education administration from Ratchathani University, and teaches at a secondary school where he makes videos and films as media to teach his students. He also founded the “Khon Hug Idea group” in school and works with students, teachers and local people to make films
The script for the film was developed by brainstorming with his students, fellow teachers and students from Mahasarakham University and the lead actor, Martin Wheeler. Worrawut funded the film, pausing production as he sought help from local businessmen and facing three postponements from a multiplex chain on the release date.
Indie films by their very nature have little power when it comes to dealing with the movie industry. While waiting for a final release date, the director tried to gain more experience overseas by submitting the film to the 3rd International Film Festival of Prayag-Delhi, from where he picked up an international film award on February 28. And then finally his dream comes true, his first feature film is finally going on general release this Thursday.