Friday, August 22, 2014

Bangkok Cinema Scene special: 18th Thai Short Film and Video Festival, August 28-September 7, 2014

The schedule is out for the 18th Thai Short Film and Video Festival, which has many highlights, among them the screening of Filipino auteur Lav Diaz' four-hour opus Norte, the End of History.

Think of it as the experimental "video" portion of the Thai Short Film and Video Festival, which has long given space to medium- and feature-length works in its Digital Forum section.

A nominee for the Golden Palm at last year's Cannes Film Festival and winner of the best director award at the Cinemanila festival, Norte centers on three characters – a struggling family man who is framed for murder and sent to prison, the man's wife, left behind alone to pick up the pieces, and the real killer, whose disillusionment with society is pushing him to the edge of sanity. Norte producer Moira Lang will be among the festival guests. Norte screens from 6 to 10.30pm on Monday, August 1 at the Lido, while the rest of the festival takes place in its usual venue, the Bangkok Art and Culture Centre.

Shorter offerings are among the highlights of a new French Connection program.

"Too many good French films were submitted this year, so we decided to select some of them for a special programme," says Sanchai Chotirosseranee, a festival programmer and deputy director of the Thai Film Archive, which organizes the fest.

Among the offerings will be the festival's opener on Thursday, Cambodia 2099, by young French-Cambodian director Davy Chou, who previously surveyed Cambodia's lost cinematic golden age in Golden Slumbers. He'll also be a festival guest and will judge the international short-film competition. Selected for the Directors' Fortnight at Cannes this year, the 20-minute film has three friends gathering on Phnom Penh's Koh Pich, aka Diamond Island, talking about their dreams and what Cambodia will be like at the end of this century.

Still more French connections come from the Clermont Ferrand International Short Film Festival, the world's largest short-film showcase. As the Thai Short Film and Video Festival has done for the past several years, there will be special package of the Best of Clermont Ferrand. This year's line-up will have five films, among them La Lampe au beurre de yak, which won the grand prix. Directed by China's Wei Hu, it has a young itinerant photographer and his assistant trying to photograph Tibetan nomads in front of various backdrops.

Six of Southeast Asia's top filmmakers join for one film, Letters from the South, each taking a segment to look at the Chinese diaspora in the region. The directors are Thailand's Aditya Assarat, Singapore's Royston Tan and Sun Koh, Myanmar's Midi Zhao and Malaysia's Tan Chui Mui and Tsai Ming-liang.

And more views from across the region can be seen in the S-Express program curated by film experts from Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia and the Philippines.

And, in celebration of the Film Archive's 30th anniversary, there will be a special programme from the Archive's collection as well as the annual Queer shorts collection of Thai and foreign films.

As always, the centerpiece of the Thai Short Film and Video Festival is the competition among Thai indie filmmakers for the top-prize RD Pestonji Award, named in honor of the country's pioneering auteur, along with documentaries, animated shorts and student films vying for other awards.

Again, the schedule can be found at this link, and more details and images from the fest can be seen at the festival's Facebook page.

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