No one has as much love for making films than our next spotlight “indie”-vidual, Apichatpong “Joe” Weerasethakul. With over fifty shorts and feature films under his belt, but only twenty-two years in the industry, he is definitely one of the most ambitious filmmakers of our time.
This native Thai director’s first attempt at filmmaking came with BULLET (1993), a short film that he finished just before he earned his bachelor’s degree in architecture. Afterwards, he went on to pursue his passion in films by receiving a master’s degree in fine arts in filmmaking in 1997. To help fund his creative endeavours as well as those of other fellow indie Thai filmmakers, in 1999, he co-founded the production company Kick the Machine.
From there, he went on to write, direct and produce several films. Touching on themes such as sexuality, dreams and Western perceptions of Asia while simultaneously defying conventional narratives, Weerasethakul is a truly visionary and unique filmmaker. Through his work, he’s brought prominence and prestige to the Southeast Asian film industry.
Although he’s only produced seven feature films, almost all of them have received international acclaim: BLISSFULLY YOURS (2002) won the Un Certain Regard prize at the 2002 Cannes Film Festival, TROPICAL MALADY (2004) won the Prix du Jury at the 2004 Cannes Film Festival, SYNDROMES AND A CENTURY (2006) was nominated for the Golden Lion at the 63rd Venice International Film Festival and UNCLE BOONMEE WHO CAN RECALL HIS PAST LIVES (2010) won the Palme d’Or at the 2010 Cannes Film Festival and was selected as Thailand’s entry for Best Foreign Language Film at the 83rd Academy Awards.
Weerasethakul has dedicated almost half of his life to films, making critics and cinephiles respect this visionary filmmaker. His next feature film is CEMETERY OF KINGS, and we all look forward to this film. We’re also looking forward to February 18, when we’ll be announcing our official selection for this year’s festival. Be sure to stay tuned!