• Romantic comedy
  • Anocha Suvichakornpong

Journeys of independence

movie & TV February 17, 2017 01:00

By The Nation

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Non-studio films dominate the nominations for this year’s Subhannahong Awards

A small independent movie will be going up against a heavyweight mainstream rival when the Thai film industry’s biggest prizes are handed out next month. Anocha Suvichakornpong’s small-budget production “Dao Khanong” (“By The Time It Gets Dark”) and last year’s top-grossing “Fanday Fan Kun Khae Wan Diaw” (“Fanday”) are going head-to-head in Thailand’s answer to the Oscars with 10 nominations apiece including Best Director.

In fact, independent films appear to be much in favour this year with Tanwarin Sukkhapisit’s “Pum Namman” (“A Gas Station”) next in line with nine nods, Pimpaka Towira’s “Mahasamut Lae Susan” (“The Island Funeral”) with eight and Boonsong Nakphu’s low-budget film about Buddhism “Thudongkhawat” (“Wandering”) picking up the nominations for best film, director, screenplay and cinematography.

    Visute Poolvoralaks, president of the Federation of National Film Associations of Thailand (FNFAT), which organises the awards, says he’s excited by the nominations.

And well he might be. For the first time in Thai film history, two female directors, Anocha and Pimpaka, are in the running for the coveted best director award. The ladies will be up against the four filmmakers of the anthology “Pohnjakfah” (“A Gift”) and Banjong Pisunthanakun of “Fanday”.

    Mainstream, however, still rules the roost in the acting categories. The nods for best actress include Davika Hoorne for her double role as elderly lady and young woman in “20 Mai U-turn Wai Huajai Return” (“Suddenly Twenty”), Nittha Jirayungyurn for her film debut in “Fanday”. Apinya Sakuljaroensuk for the thriller “Awasarn Loke Suay”, Sasithorn Panichnok for “The Island Funeral” and Apha Phawilai for “A Gas Station”.

    And in another first, two Myanmar actors have been nominated for best actor and best supporting actor for their roles in the Thai-Myanmar production “Tueng Kon Mai Kid Tueng” (“From Bangkok to Mandalay”). In the best actor category, hip-hop singer and actor Sai Sai Kham Leng will be up against Ananda Everingham (“Khun Phan”), Krisada Sukosol Clapp (“Luk Thung Signature”), Prama Imanothai )“A Gas Station”) and Chanthawit Thanasewee (“Fanday”). Nay Toe is the running for Best Supporting actor.

Myanmar actor Nay Toe is the running for Best Supporting Actor for his role in “From Bangkok to Mandalay”.

The film itself has been in the news recently after being disqualified from the awards on the grounds that it is not a Thai movie. The makers were however quick to fight back, pointing out that the main cast, the director and the crew were Thai and the production is now back in the game.

    Award favourites Apinya Sakulcharoensuk and Krisada Sukosol Clapp stand a good chance of not going home empty-handed as they are also nominated for best supporting actress and actor for “By the Time It Gets Dark” and “Khun Phan” respectively.

The best screenplay award will certainly go to a non-studio film as the contest is between “By the Time”, “From Bangkok to Mandalay”, “Wandering”, “A Gas Station” and “The Island Funeral”.

    And in another score for the indie side, Prabda Yoon’s directorial debut “Rongram Tang Dao” (“Motel Mist”) picked up one nomination, for best art direction by Rasiguet Sookkarn.

    The documentary category has been dropped for this year as too few Thai documentaries were released in 2016.

The lifetime achievement award goes to actor Yodchai Meksuwan, whose career reached its peak in the late 1970s and 80s.

“He is, perhaps, the only actor of his time to still be involved in the Thai film industry, not as an actor but with the federation,” says Visute, adding that last year’s R+O voting system will once again in place. Under this system, 44 voters make their choice from among the five nominees in each category. Their selection is then followed by a vote from all 1,700 registered voters from every sector of the film industry for each category.

The Subhanahongsa Awards will be held on March 5 at the Siam Pic-Ganesha Theatre in Siam Square One starting at 5pm.