Thursday, March 1, 2012

O NATHAPON, Charismatic THAI Film Director. “Like a GREAT DISH, a GREAT FILM is always served with HEART and with PASSION.”

Delve into the heart-and-soul of this beautiful ballad from the movie’s haunting score.

It captures the NOSTALGIA of a LOST GONE ERA.

O NATHAPON Thai Film Director

This one's for sure.

O NATHAPON is barely 30, but he’s already an established newbie in the dog-eat-dog world of film making.

He chooses his material meticulously, has set plans for a career in film direction.

What’s more, he guards his privacy well.

O's debut film “A MOMENT IN JUNE” is a magnificent avant-garde indie with a crossover between the arthouse and the commercial.

There’ll always be beauty in the element and he ensures that it does.

He’s in no hurry with new scripts being offered, and he picks his choices with artistic deliberation.

He has proven he’s one intriguing director to watch out for since “A MOMENT IN JUNE”.

It was an emotionally mesmerizing film which he singly wrote, produced and directed two years ago.

It starred an ensemble cast of Thai veterans such as SHAKRIT YAMNAM, KRISSADA SUKOSOL, SINITTA BOONYASAK among others, in a stirring potpourri of love, pain and redemption.

“A MOMENT IN JUNE” embodies an endearing story with unforgettable gritty characters:

a gay couple, an elderly couple, a love-triangle in a stage play directed by one of the gay partners.

O demonstrates that sometimes the brightest light comes from the darkest places where love dwells, that in life, “relish, live in the present and not dwell on the past” as there’s no permanence in everything.

And all over the world people must meet and part. Right.

The feature is beautifully filmed, with a heartwrenching score justifying an “emotively poetic” balance. I’d say it is a stylistic masterpiece liken to a color palette reminiscent of the Thai Cinema of the 80s.

O NATHAPON wisely uses his theatrical experience to concoct a creative blend of the cinema and stage that roller coasts us through a play-within-a-film.

This stylized treatment will ensure that it’s a definitive feast for the eyes and ears.


This INTERVIEW takes place in uptown BANGKOK.

I will dedicate this piece as a definitive homage to this fascinating Thai film director.

He’s one of the best to have emerged in the recent years.

I’d consider this as a triumph over reality.

Here’s O NATHAPON, with one short film and an outstanding feature called “A MOMENT IN JUNE” and I am bowled over.

I espied him at a high brow art exhibition in uptown Bangkok.

Chance encounter it may be, but I wasted no time in whisking him off for a cuppa.

Now here we are, having an impromptu tete-a-tete, sharing his views on O’s finer nuances of Art.

This man has a rich theatrical background as actor and director, before he ventures into films.

O is gregariously avant garde and he believes that LIFE imitates ART.

The doctrine of “thinking out of the box” best describes his persona.

Here’s a dauntless fighter who will not hesitate to cross creative boundaries to establish his craft.

“I can be the occasional non-conformist as I’d like it my way when it comes to expressing ART on cinematic screen,”

He explores the unconventional.

“I follow Art, in definitive aesthetic style,” he stresses.

“Like a GREAT DISH, a GREAT FILM is always served with HEART and with PASSION.” he sums it all up.

ATOP and RIGHT BELOW are first-hand PICTURES of O NATHAPON directing his ACTORS and CREW.  Enjoy!

1.          How did you first get started in the film industry?

Like many filmmakers, I started as a film lover who would sneak into a cinema whenever I had free time. I started with still photography when I was young and moved on to make my first short film in 1998. I attended a film school in Los Angeles in 2000 and made my first proper short film “Bicycles & Radios” in 2003. I directed my first feature film “A Moment In June” in 2008 from the script I’d written. The film was premiered at the Pusan International Film Festival and was nominated for New Current Awards in 2008. The film released nationwide in Thailand in 2009.

2.          What types of movies have moved, or continue to move you on a deep level?

David Lean’s “Brief Encounter” is my favourite film of all times. I watch it at least once a year and own 5 copies of it on DVD. Drama is my favourite genre but I like dark comedy as well. My next script is a dark dramedy.

3.          As a filmmaker, passion for a project is an essential ingredient to its success, both financially and critically. What drew you to this project?

I’ve spent two years writing the script and was determined to make it into my first feature film. It was a happy and fulfilling two year project working with David (Cinematographer) and Tomo (Production Designer.)

4.          And now that it is completed, what do you make of it? Has everything come into place the way you envisioned it?

I’m very proud of it. Of course there are things I wish I’d done differently. But I guess I’d never be fully satisfied with the film. As a filmmaker you can never stop learning and the more you learn the more you see things differently, and when you look back to what you’ve done I guess you want to improve it. As it was my first feature film, I learnt a lot from it both artistically and with marketing it.

5.          While working on the film, what aspects of your own life did you bring in?

I wrote the script and one of the characters is pretty much an autobiography.

6.          How vital is the location in which you shot? Does it provide a backdrop that is unique and central to the movie in any way?

Locations are very important to me. I’ve written 90% of the scenes with specific locations in mind. For me, knowing a location helps to construct a scene.

7.          Actors bring in a lot of their own twist on character interpretation. Did your cast modify or deepen their roles?

Definitely! I’ve written the script with most of the actors in mind as I’ve worked with them before and know what they can bring to the film. I decided to write the script in English as David (Cinematographer) and Tomo (Production Designer) cannot read Thai. As there are a lot of subtexts in the film, I used a technique I learned from a theatre school in London where the actors have to learn all the words in one language, translate in their heads and perform in another language. This helps bring out their understanding of the characters and their feelings.

8.          Were there other things that maybe played a hand in how the movie ended up being (aesthetically or thematically)?

The original version of the film that was premiered in Pusan was 15 minutes longer but due to the marketing, the film had to be re-edited to show in Thailand.

9.      When you delved into directing this movie, was there a “place” you needed to be mentally?

Yes, on the sets! I enjoy being on sets. I love working with actors and crew. I normally pre-plan everything before I get on set and rather enjoy seeing my visions come alive. However, there were many songs I listened to while directing this film (one ended up being in the film.) Those songs reminded me of the time when I wrote the script and took me back to those feelings and emotions I wanted to communicate to the audience.

10.      Many other films that touch upon sensitive subjects may come under fire for its material or content. Are you worried about that for your movie?

Not at all.


I contacted SHAKRIT for his views on working with director O NATHAPON.

SHAKRIT is a household name in Thailand as he’s very much in demand for Thai soaps, serial dramas and feature films.

Having spent a considerable number of years abroad, he is in total command with the English language. He starred as NICHOLAS CAGE’s sidekick in the Hollywood version of BANGKOK DANGEROUS.

SHAKRIT is one dedicated performer who will plunge into any role, is able to drive himself to the edge of the psyche.

“What defines a good director is tenacity,persistence and shifting the focus in tense situations,” remarks SHAKRIT, “and O NATHAPON has this gift.”

And finally, the MOVIE TRAILER, which is WHAT you’ve been WAITING for.

Saving the BEST for LAST.


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