Seafic – the Southeast Asian Fiction Film Lab – wrapped its inaugural edition last weekend with the announcement of three prizes.
The project from Singapore “You Are There” by director Nicole Midori Woodford and producer Jeremy Chua picked up the Seafic-TFL award as well as the Open SEA Fund award, while Thai project “Doi Boy” by director Nontawat Numbenchapol and producers Steve Chen and Supatcha Thipsena, went home with the Purin Award.
“You Are There” is a coming-of-age supernatural drama about a teenage girl, who crosses between the worlds of the living and the dead, as she searches for her estranged mother in the midst of impending disaster. Woodford’s latest short “For We Are Strangers” was selected for the Busan Film Festival’s Wide Angle Competition and she is also an alumnus of the Berlinale Talents 2010.
“Doi Boy” is about Shan boy prostitutes, part of a new generation of people from Zomia living as aliens in Chiang Mai, Thailand. They are not bothered by anything and are happier to do this work than to go back home to fight for the army.
Nontawat’s two documentaries, “Fah Tam Phaendin Soong” (“Boundary”) premiered at the Berlinale Forum and his “Sai Nam Tid Chua” (By the river”) was shown at the Locarno Film Festival. His latest documentary about teenagers “#BKKY” premiered at the Busan Film Festival and is going to released on August 3.
The Seafic programme was launched last year. The first and second rounds took place at a resort in Chiang Mai in October and February respectively, with the participation of five Southeast Asian projects: Sivaroj Kongsakul’s “Regretfully at Dawn”, Nontawat’s “Doi Boy”, Pham Ngoc Lan’s “Cu Li Never Cries”, Yeo Siew Hua’s “In the Eyes of a Stranger” and Woodford’s “You Are There”. The third and final part– an Open Session – was held in Bangkok. Participants had to pitch their projects to Christian Jeune, head of the Cannes Film Festival’s Film Department, Namsun Shi, veteran Hong Kong film producer, and Kini Kim, former executive of CJ Entertainment after eight months working on developing their script in the project with consultants such as Franz Rodenkirchen, script consultant for Torino Filmlab.
Founded by renowned producer Raymond Phathanavirangoon and filmmaker Visra Vichit-Vadakan, with the support of the Embassy of France in Thailand, the Goethe Institute, the Japan Foundation and the US Embassy in Bangkok, Seafic’s aim is to develop the filmmaking scene in Thailand and Southeast Asia
The goal of Seafic is to help Southeast Asia filmmakers find their own way and develop a good script while recognising that they don’t have to spend a lot of money to attend a scriptwriting lab in Europe or America.
Among the well-known scriptwriting labs that have risen to the fore in recent years are Torino Filmlab in Italy, Sundance Institute’s International Screenwriters Lab in the US and the Jerusalem International Film Lab in Israel. The concept however remains new to Southeast Asia and even to East Asia in general.