Silver lining for 'Concrete Clouds'
Lee Chatametikool gets funds to complete his debut feature
AS A FILM EDITOR, Lee Chatametikool has worked behind the scenes of many of Thailand's commercial hits and acclaimed art-house features, including those by the likes of Apichatpong Weerasethakul, Anocha Suwichakornpong and Aditya Assarat.
While continuing to keep his editing bays at Houdini Studio humming, Lee has also been steadily working on his feature directorial debut, a love story set against the financial meltdown called "Concrete Clouds".
Recently, the project got a big boost, with post-production funding from the Busan International Film Festival's Asian Cinema Fund.
"Concrete Clouds" is now expected to be finished by October, which is when the Busan fest takes place.
Also awarded by the ACF was another Thai project, "Beer Girl" by Wichanon Somumjarn, who made his debut last year with "In April the Following Year, There Was a Fire".
Formerly known as "Past Love", Lee's project has been in development since around 2010, and has been steadily making the rounds at the various markets and funds, with support also coming from Visions Sud Est and the Hubert Bals Fund of the International Film Festival Rotterdam.
Ananda Everingham stars along with Janesuda Parnto and Apinya Sakuljaroensuk. The story follows a guy named Mutt returning to Bangkok after his father commits suicide. He meets his ex-girlfriend who is facing financial difficulty and his younger brother is in love with a girl next door.
"This film looks like a commercial film, but it criticises the social and financial crises of Thailand, displaying a huge consumption society through the different characters," says the ACF website. "The unexpected combination of the seriousness of the Thailand independent film and the lightness of the commercial film works wonderfully well in the film and it comes as a delightful surprise."
Producers include Apichatpong and Anocha, returning the favours Lee did for them on their acclaimed films, "Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives" and "Mundane History", along with Sylvia Chang and Soros Sukhum.
Wichanon's "Beer Girl" was named under the Script Development Fund for the Asian Film Academy. It's about a girl working at a bar who gets caught up in a crime and runs away with her lover.
Adding to the count
GTH's hit psycho-thriller from last year, "Countdown", won another award recently. Nattawut Poonpiriya's debut feature was given the Audience Award after an all-nighter event screening at London's Terracotta Far East Film Festival.
"Countdown" previously won a bunch of awards from the Thai entertainment industry, as well as the runner-up Audience Award at the Udine Far East Film Festival.
It also screened at the New York Asian Film Festival, where Fangoria magazine caught it and called it a "sprightly little slice of exploitation" and gave it three out of four bloody skulls. Film School Rejects were less enthused, giving it a grade of C- while the Film Stage was an even stricter teacher, slapping "Countdown" with an F.
Maybe Nattawut can give them a nice shiny apple when he delivers his next feature.