Apichatpong Weerasethakul has been named a laureate of the Fukuoka Prize, an honour given each year since 1990 by the Japanese city to recognise outstanding contributions to academia, arts and culture in Asia.
The prize citation hails him “as a standard-bearer for young artists with unconventional approaches to visual expressions”.
“[He] has been greatly inspirational to filmmaking circles across the world, and continues to be creative in diverse areas without getting trapped in conventional ideas of genre. For his great achievements, he truly deserves the Art and Culture Prize of the Fukuoka Prize,” the citation continues.
Apichatpong’s works include his ground-breaking debut feature, the experimental documentary “Mysterious Object at Noon” from 2000, in which he travelled the length of the country, getting people to fill in the blanks to a story he made up along the way. His sophomore feature, 2002’s “Blissfully Yours”, won the Un Certain Regard Prize at the Cannes Film Festival, and his next feature, “Tropical Malady” won the Cannes Jury Prize. In 2010, he won the top-prize Palme d’Or at Cannes for his haunting “Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives”.
Aside from making feature films, Apichatpong has been active in video art, creating installations that have been shown at museums worldwide. Among his recent works is “Primitive Project”, which is a companion to “Uncle Boonmee”. It combines and connects different media including multi-channel videos, photos and an illustrated book.
Other Fukuoka laureates this year are Grand Prize-winner Dr. Tetsu Nakamura, executive director of the relief organisation Peace Japan Medical Services; Tessa Morris-Suzuki, winner of the Academic Prize, for her work in the field of Asian studies; and Indian artist Nalini Malani, who is acclaimed for her large-scale spatial art combining installation and paintings.
At 42, Apichatpong is the youngest Thai to win the Fukuoka Prize. Others are Thammasat University historian Charnvit Kasetsiri, who was honoured last year, anthropologist Srisakra Vallibhotama, painter
Thawan Duchanee, Chiang Mai University historian Nidhi Eoseewong, archaeologist MC Subhadradis Diskul, and National Artist and statesman Kukrit Pramoj, who was honoured in 1990.
As part of the award, Apichatpong will give a public lecture in Fukuoka on September 15.
HONOURING THE ARTIST
To celebrate its 70th anniversary, Silpakorn University, the Kingdom’s first art institute, is hosting a short-film contest to pay tribute to its founder Professor Silpa Bhirasri. Born in Italy as Corrado Feroci, the sculptor came to Thailand in 1923 to teach. He also contributed to several well-known monuments, including the Democracy Monument and the King Rama I statue. He is regarded as the “father of Thai contemporary art”.
The panel of judge for the contest will include Prof Pisanu Supanimitr, Assoc Prof Thavorn Ko-Udomvit and filmmaker and Silpakorn alumnus Nonzee Nimitbutr.
The grand prize is Bt100,000 and a Silpa Bhirasri plate with three runner-up prizes of Bt20,000.
The films are limited to 10 minutes and must be submitted in the HD-DVD format between August 5 to 10. For more details, with the announementThe contest will be judged on August 22 and announce on facebook on Sept 2.
For more details, see www.Facebook.com/silpakornshortfilm.