ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย-ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation
International entries add plenty of variety to the Thai Short Film and Video Festival
FLITTING FROM FRANCE to Iran, China to Singapore and Spain to Russia, entries in the Thai Short Film and Video Festival’s international competition cover a lot of ground and even include a few award winners.
From Iran is “Bishtar Az Do Saat” (“More Than Two Hours”), a 15-minute drama in which a young couple seeks illegal medical help. Directed by Ali Asgari, it was in the short-film competition at this year’s Cannes Film Festival.
An award-winning Iranian yarn is “Paratiisin Avaimet” (“Keys of Heaven”), by Finland-based Hamy Ramezan. The 27-minute drama, winner of four prizes at the Tampere International Short Film Festival, follows homeless brothers, ages 15 and 12, as they struggle with life in their wartorn country in 1984.
And from Russia comes the chilly “Zima”, director Cristina Picchi’s portrait of her country’s snow-blanketed scenery. It won the coveted Silver Leopard at last year’s Locarno fest.
The three are among the 16 contenders in the Thai Short Film and Video Festival’s foreign-film competition, which this year had more than 300 entries, according to Chalida Uabumrungjit, deputy director of the Thai Film Archive, which puts on the fest.
That’s in addition to the mind-boggling 500 Thai films submitted for the local competitions of live-action narratives, documentaries, animation and student films.
The international competition screenings kick off at 11am tomorrow at the Bangkok Art and Culture Centre with entries that include “Keys of Heaven” as well as shorts from France and Russia.
A Spanish entry, “Little Block of Cement with Disheveled Hair Containing the Sea”, is a black-and-white live-action portrait of a dog and a horse embarking on a journey together. Two more animals get get together in the animated entry “Rabbit and Deer” from Hungary, which picked up awards in the US at festivals in Atlanta and Nashville.
The international competition continues at 3 with “Autofocus”, about a 12th-century church that’s located on a picturesque hill in Croatia. It attracts numerous tourists who then become actors in the 26-minute film.
Closer to home, there’s “Detour” from Singapore, in which a taxi-driver dad ferries his squabbling sons around the city on a steamy hot day. Directed by Michael Kam, it won in four categories at the fifth Singapore Short Film Awards.
“Detour” is also part of the Thai Short Film and Video Festival’s S-Express, an annual programme that rounds up shorts from around Southeast Asia.
Part of the fest since 2001, S-Express was inaugurated by Chalida, Singporean producer Yuni Hadi and Malaysian writer-director Amir Muhammad.
“We were discussing about how little we knew of one another’s films, so we created a programme that packaged them all together,” says Chalida.
Curators from the Philippines and Indonesia joined in subsequent years, and today S-Express offers a panorama of the best short films from each country. It’s also a touring programme, so if you miss any of the Thai shorts in Bangkok, you might catch them in an S-Express Thailand screening overseas.
S-Express Philippines is at 5 tomorrow and Wednesday with four shorts, among them “Pantomimes for Figures Shrouded by Waves” by Jon Lazam, who won the best short film award at Cinemanila last year. Singapore’s entries screen at 5 on Tuesday, Malaysia’s at 5 on Thursday and Indonesia’s at 5 next Friday.
More Asean views come at 6.30 on Wednesday with “Letters from the South”, an anthology of segments about Chinese communities across the region. They are “Now Now Now” by Thailand’s Aditya Assarat, “Popiah” by Singapore’s Royston Tan, “A Night in Matacca” by Myanmar’s Midi Zhao, “Burial Clothes” by Singapore’s Sun Koh, “Singapore Panda” by Tan Chui Mui and “Walking on Water” by Malaysia’s Tsai Ming-liang.
Meanwhile, there’s another Filipino entry to gaze at – “Norte, the End of History” by art-house icon Lav Diaz, screening at 6pm on Monday at the Lido in Siam Square. Running for more than four hours, the sprawling drama about a family man framed for murder might seem like an odd choice for a short film festival. But, it’s also a “video” festival, which means there are actually no limits.
Still more international flavour comes in the brand-new “French Connection” programme, which bands together a variety of well-made French shorts. Among them is “Cambodia 2099”, by young French-Cambodian helmer Davy Chou, which has young Cambodian pals talking about what their country will be like 85 years from now.
There’s even French animation, with a battle between red and yellow sides in “Bigmundial”, “featuring the tiniest hooligans at the football World Cup”, and “Bigeety”, “featuring the tiniest actors from Planet Spielberg”. Both are directed by Maurice Huvelin.
Adding to the dizzying array of short films is “The Best of Clermont-Ferrand” package, which collects the cream of the crop from the world’s largest short-film fest. It includes entries from Ukraine and Brazil, as well as the fest’s Grand Prix winner, “La Lampe au beurre de yak” by China’s Hu Wei, in which a photographer and his assistant offer to photograph Tibetan nomads in front of various backgrounds.
Surprises are in store for the annual “Queer” programme, screening at 6.30 on Thursday. Among the selection of Thai and foreign shorts on gay culture is the campy “MeTube: August Sings Carmen ‘Habanera'”.
Variety is the key to keeping attracting new viewers and hooking them on short films, says Sanchai Chotirosseranee, deputy director of the Thai Film Archive.
“One of the hardest parts of organising a festival that has run for 18 years is keeping it fresh so it seems like it’s the first time,” Sanchai says. “We try to keep it new for all types of viewers. Newcomers will for sure find many challenging films that are different from what they usually see. But long-time festival visitors also need excitement. So we work hard every year to introduce fresh elements.”
>>>The 18th Thai Short Film and Video Festival is at the Bangkok Art and Culture Centre until September 7, except on Monday when the BACC is closed and the fest shifts over to the Lido cinemas in Siam Square with “Norte, the End of History”. It screens from 6 to 10.30pm.
>>> For the full schedule, check http://www.Facebook.com/ThaiShortFilmVideoFestival.