The Kaohsiung Film Festival (KFF) today presents new film titles for the Short Film Panorama program and announces the Director in Focus 2018. This year, the Short Film Panorama focuses on short films from Japan, South Korea and Malaysia, and invites the audience to see the abundant creativity of filmmakers from these Asian countries. In the past few months, the KFF team has been working with the Short Shorts Film Festival & Asia in Japan, the Busan International Short Film Festival in South Korea and the Kuala Lumpur Experimental Film, Video & Music Festival in Malaysia to bring creative short films to Kaohsiung. The team also announces that Thai director Nawapol Thamrongrattanarit will be the Director in Focus this year, and both his feature and short films are to be screened during the festival. The director will also be present to share his filmmaking experience with the audience.
It has been eight years of collaboration between the Kaohsiung Film Festival and the Short Shorts Film Festival & Asia in Japan, the biggest short film festival in Asia. Every year, the Short Shorts selection program proves to be a huge success at the box office. This time, Short Shorts brings seven short films to the festival, including the animation short FILL and Moo, with the renowned Japanese actor and director Takumi Saitoh as both the screenwriter and voice actor for the film. FULL and Moo leads the audience to travel throughout film history, paying tribute to legendary works such as the Lumière brothers’ Arrival of a Train at a Station and Gene Kelly’s Singing in the Rain. The short is produced by the Japanese nonprofit organization World Theater Project, which dedicates to bringing movies to children in developing countries.
This year, the Kaohsiung Film Festival also collaborates with the Busan International Short Film Festival (BISFF), the most prestigious short film festival in South Korea for the first time. The BISFF Special program selects six award-winning shorts from the BISFF’s Korean Competition in the past three years. The six shorts share the common theme of family relationship and coming-of-age story. Scar, the 2018 winner of Grand Prix for Best Picture depicts the complex relationship between an adolescent girl and her little brother, while On the Way, the 2018 Jury Prize winner captures the teenage runaways’ life at the margins of an urban city. Deer Flower, which won the Grand Prix for Best Picture in 2016, is a stop-motion-animated short that retells the director’s childhood experience with a surreal touch. The other three shorts in the program are The Silence of the Dogs, Line and From Now on. Together they present a portrait of the South Korean society in contemporary times.
In addition, the KFF team curates a short film program to explore experimental moving images this year. The team invites nine experimental shorts from the Kuala Lumpur Experimental Film, Video & Music Festival (KLEX). The nine shorts present different portraits of “homeland” through creative audio-visual experiments, which reveal the transient moments in daily life and also the local politics and social circumstances in a subtle way. The program includes not only shorts from Asian region, but also works from countries such as the United States, Egypt and Belgium. Microdistrict applies hand-painting technique to document the everyday fragments in the Bulgarian post-socialist residential neighborhoods. Brutalism is an animation short that combines photos and charcoal drawings to show the life and death of architecture throughout history. Alor Setar Pulse is an exploration of hand-painted sunblinds in the Malaysian city Alor Setar, where the patterns and rhythmic movements of the sunblinds intriguingly represent the cityscape. Likewise, other shorts in the program present various images of homeland in different geographical locations and show the filmmakers’ unique perspectives towards the world.
This year, the KFF’s Director in Focus is Thai director Nawapol Thamrongrattanarit. He was born in Bangkok in 1984 and graduated from Chulalongkorn University with a Chinese major. He makes both independent and mainstream films, and works not only as director but also as screenwriter and editor. As a young filmmaker, he is highly acclaimed in Thailand and has won several awards at international film festivals worldwide, including the New Currents Award at the Busan International Film Festival 2012 for his first feature film 36. He often creates interesting cinematic language with a low budget and limited resources. His films often lively present a young generation that is highly addicted to the Internet world.
The Kaohsiung Film Festival will showcase two programs with nine of the director’s short films that haven’t been shown in Taiwan before. Thank You for Sharing featuring Chutimon Chuengcharoensukying the leading actress in Bad Genius, the Thai blockbuster in 2017, depicts a cyberbullying incident on campus. Cherie Is Korean-Thai tells a black-humor story about an actress preparing for her new role as a construction worker by interviewing a female worker in real life. The shorts in the selection range from fiction, commercial to documentary, yet they all demonstrate the director’s constant attempts to experiment with cinematic language.