The gay love story "Malila" which weaves spirituality into its plot, sweeps the Subhanahongsa awards
A delicate portrayal of love, life and loss through Buddhism and the art of of bai sri – a delicate ornament made by folding banana leaves – were the true winners of the national Subhanahongsa film awards this year, taking home seven prizes including best film, director, actor, supporting actor and cinematographer.
“Homestay”, which garnered 13 nominations, went home with just two awards –best supporting actress and best editing and best visual effect.
“I have received many awards for “Malila” over the past year but I still don’t see a bright future for the film. So winning awards doesn’t fill me with joy. Thai movies don’t much receive protection and support from the government. I admire all filmmakers for showing that they are fighting and work for what they love, I hope that the new government will be more interested in Thai film and take better care of it. Thank you,” said “Malila” director Anucha Boonyawatana.
In fact, her speech turned out to be the most memorable moment of the event when deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Krea-ngam, there to announce the winner of best picture – also “Malila” – replied, saying, “The winner is the movie that doesn’t have to wait for the new government to support, even this government can support you, “Malila”.
Both speeches received loud applause though there was a mixed reaction on social media when certain posters pointed out that that “Malila” had received financial support and the opportunity to the pitch the idea at Cannes International Film Festival courtesy of the Culture Ministry.
Filmmakers have long wanted not just financial support but also an understanding of the art of filmmaking. Anucha later posted her thanks to the Culture Ministry and others on Facebook, apologising for her failure to do so on stage.
“I would like to thank the Ministry. I very much appreciate your support for telling a story touching on the sensitive issues of Buddhism and LGBT.”
Divided into two parts, “Malila” first dwells on the beauty of love and the sadness of separation between Shane (Sukollawat Kanarot) and Pich (Anuchyd Spanphong) through the beauty of nature and the art of bai sri, of which Pich is a master. The second part is quiet and powerful and reflects Buddhist spirituality. Learning that Pich is terminally ill, Shane decides to ordain in the hope of bringing blessings and perhaps even improved health to his friend.
The film’s actors –Sukollawat Kanarot and Anuchyd Sapanphong.and Anuchyd – received the best actor and supporting actor for their roles.
For Sukollawat, who is better known for his roles in TV dramas that the movies, it was a dream come true.
“After years working as an actor, I have started loving this career and it is one that I hope will last forever. I started searching for new experiences and the chance to shift from TV show host to working in films. I am not naturally talented so I must try harder,” he told the audience.
Culture minister Veera Rojpojanarat presents the lifetime achievement award to veteran actor and voice actor Rong Khaomoonkadee.
Anuchyd, who made his debut in Jira Maligool’s 15 Kham Duan 11 (“Mekhong Full Moon Party”) 17 years ago then won the lead role in 2004’s “Hom Rong” (“The Overture”) was overwhelmed.
“Since ‘The Overture’, I have been searching for an interesting character to play. Thank you Anucha, Weir [Sukolwatt) and the rest of the cast,” he told the audience.
“Winning the award will I hope earn me more acceptance and recognition. I am still searching for good scripts and will continue asking to audition in projects that interest me.”
“Malila” premiered at the Busan International Film Festival in October 2017, winning Anucha the inaugural Kim Ji-seok award, which she shared with Japanese film “The Scythian Lamb”. A month later, it was screened in competition at the Singapore International Film Festival where it did even better, winning her Best Director award.
The lifetime achievement award this year went to veteran actor and voice actor Rong Khaomoonkadee while “2215 Chuea Baa Kla Kao” won best documentary after a year’s hiatus in the prize.
Director Gun Phansuwon and music composer Suthee Sangsareechoon pick up the award for Best Original Score for “9 Satra”.
The Subhanahongsa award ceremony this year was organised by Workpoint Entertainment, which also live broadcast the show. The only disappointment was the decision to only allow major award winners to give a speech on stage and have songs not relevant to the awards performed rather than those nominated for “Best Song”.
And the awards go to...
Best Picture: “Malila” (“The Farewell Flower”)
Best Director: Anucha Boonyawatana (“Malila”)
Best Actor: Sukollawat Kanarot (“Malila”)
Best Actress: Urassaya Sperbund, "Nong Pee Tee Rak" ("Brother of the Year")
Best Supporting: Actor Anuchyd Sapanphong (“Malila”)
Best Supporting Actress: Suquan Bulakool, (“Homestay”)
Best Screenplay: Anucha Boonyawatana (Malila)
Best Cinematography: Chaiyapruek Chalermpornpanich (“Malila”
Best Film Editing: Chonlasit Upanigkit (“Homestay”)
Best Art Direction: Patchara Lertkrai (“Malila”)
Best Original Score: Ryan Shore, Suthee Sangsareechon, "9 Satra" ("The Legend of Muay Thai")
Best Original Song: “Sang Sawan” by Bodyslam
Best Documentary: “2215 Chuea Baa Kla Kao” Best Recording and Sound Mixing: Richard Hocks (Kantana Sound Studio), Nakorn Kositpaisain (Vanilla Sky Studio) and Jakkrit Bua-iam (Gekko Studio Complex) (“9 Satra”)
Best Make Up Effects: Siwakorn Sukalankarn, Arporn Meebangyan (“Khun Phan 2”)
Best Costume Design: Nirachara Wannalai (“Khun Phan 2”)
Best Visual Effects: YggDrazil Group (“Homestay")
Lifetime Achievement Award: Rong Khaomoolkadee