Animated Buddha saga hits the big screen for HM the King's birthday
After struggling to find Bt100 million to pay for it, the first locally produced animation of the Lord Buddha will be completed in August, according to producer Dr Wallapa Phanthong.
It will be released to coincide with His Majesty the King's birthday in December.
The animated feature is called "The Life of Buddha". The ambitious project took more than three years to complete.
"I hope this will attract a new generation to Buddhism," Wallapa told The Nation.
The story portrays the life of Buddha - from a young prince to enlightenment and reaching Nirvana.
The feature depicts Buddha leading disciples to genuine happiness by practising Dharma.
Wallapa's project came to public attention when she appeared on Channel 7 talk show "Jor Jai" in September last year.
Her struggle to finance the project - she needs another Bt20 million - and her determination to do so touched many people, including host Thankhun Jitissara.
He posted the story on community website pantip.com and joined Wallapa's team.
Wallapa started the project more than three years ago as part of a training programme for those wanting to use animation as an educational medium.
That did not work out but she pressed on with her Buddha idea, paying for it herself.
Thankhun assists Wallapa in finding money and borrowed Bt2 million from the Government Savings Bank to help reach their goal.
"Some say I'm crazy but I don't care. I think the project belongs to everyone and I want to help," Thankhun says.
Last week Thankhun and Wall-apa met with Social Development and Human Security Minister Paiboon Wattanasiritham. He will support the project and seek other government help.
"They cannot help financially but can promote the animated feature when it's ready for release," Thankhun said.
Wallapa said a businessman offered Bt200 million for the rights - an offer she turned down.
"I was afraid the project would become too commercial and miss its objectives of social contribution. After going into cinemas, I would like to see it distributed on video to schools. If I had accepted the offer, that would not happen," she said.