Jurors for the New Currents award at the Busan International Film Festival described first-time Thai director Nawapol Thamrongrattanarit’s “36” as “breathtaking” while praising the “extraordinary sympathy” director Maryam Najafi was able to draw from her audience throughout her entry “Kayan”.
Both productions receive $30,000 for the award, which offers two first prizes and is open to first- or second-time Asian filmmakers.
Nawapol’s film — made for just $20,000 — is set around 36 static images and tells the story of a young woman struggling to relate to her own memories.
“The first time I screened this film it was in a conference room for about 20 people so I was honored to be invited to Busan,” said Nawapol.
“My story’s about how many different ways there are to look at the way we live our lives.”
The New Currents jury, headed by the veteran Hungarian director Bela Tarr, celebrated Nawapol’s work for creating his “own film language”.
“The jury found especially that the writing was breathtaking, artful, economic, and never included an unnecessary word,” they said in a statement.
Praise came also for first-time director Najafi’s sympathetic portrayal of a Lebanese woman trying to juggle the twin demands of business and family in a foreign country and for the filmmaker’s ability “to go from emotion to analysis in the acute portrait of a woman fighting to keep a new life going”.
“We did everything you are not supposed to do with this film — from using child actors to borrowing sets — but we persevered,” said Najafi.
Jurors for the New Currents award at the Busan International Film Festival described the first-time Thai director Nawapol Thamrongrattanarit’s 36 as “breathtaking” and praised the “extraordinary sympathy” director Maryam Najafi was able to draw from the audience throughout her entryKayan.
Both productions received US$30,000 (Dh110,100) for the award, which offers two first prizes and is open to first- or second-time Asian filmmakers.