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Aditya Assarat
Born 1972
Bangkok, Thailand
Education New York University
University of Southern California
Occupation Film director, screenwriter, producer

Aditya Assarat (Thai: อาทิตย์ อัสสรัตน์, born 1972) is a Thai independent film director, screenwriter, producer and cinematographer.

Contents

Biography

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Early career

Aditya Assarat was born in Bangkok. He left Thailand at the age of 15 to be educated in the United States. He studied history at New York University, and it was during that time that he became interested in filmmaking.[1] He went on to earn a master's degree in film production from the University of Southern California School of Cinematic Arts in 2000.[2]

His graduate thesis film, the 15-minute short, Motorcycle was about a father grieving over the loss of his son in a motorcycle wreck. It was screened at dozens of film festivals, including the Chicago International Film Festival, where it won a Gold Hugo award, the San Francisco International Film Festival, where it won a Golden Gate Award, Aspen Shortsfest, where it was named best short film, and the Shorts International Film Festival in New York City, where it was also named best short film. It also won the R. D. Pestonji Award at the 2000 Thai Short Film and Video Festival and the Vision of Life Award at the 2000 Bangkok Film Festival.[3][4]

Other short films followed, including 705 Sukumvit 55 in 2002 and Waiting, a 25-minute short made in 2003. Waiting was screened at more than a dozen festivals, including the Thai Short Film and Video Festival, where it won a special merit award, the Barcelona Asian Pacific Short Film Festival, where it won best short, and the Torino Film Festival where it won the Cinemavvenire Award for Best Short Film.[3]

In 2002, Aditya directed Pru Raw Velvet: A Concert Documentary, for the Thai rock band Pru, working with a childhood friend, Kamol "Suki" Sukosol Clapp, a member of the band.[1] The 120-minute feature was screened on both Channel V Thailand and MTV Thailand.[3]

Protege, 3 Friends

In 2003, Aditya won the Hubert Bals Award at the International Film Festival Rotterdam, and was invited to take part in the Pusan Promotional Plan. In 2004, he, was chosen for the Rolex Mentor and Protege Arts Initiative, selected by Indian filmmaker Mira Nair. He met with Nair periodically as she worked on her adaptation of Vanity Fair. The Rolex program provided him with a US$25,000 stipend. Aditya also participated in the Annenberg Film Fellows Program at the Sundance Institute that same year.[5]

During the year, Aditya helped develop an experimental feature film, 3 Friends (Ma-Mee), which had a limited release, including a screenings at the 2005 Toronto International Film Festival, where it premiered, and the 2006 Bangkok International Film Festival.[5][6] He co-directed the film with Mingmongkol Sonakul and Pumin Chinaradee. It starred actress Napakpapha Nakprasitte, playing herself, in a film that was part documentary, part parody of the reality television phenomenon.

Pop Pictures, Wonderful Town

In 2006, Aditya and friends Soros Sukhum and Jetnipith Teerakulchanyut formed their own production company, Pop Pictures, making television commercials, music videos, TV programs and films.[1]

One of the company's works is Dreamchaser, a Thai reality television series. For the first season, shown in 2006, documented a cross motorcycle journey around Thailand by Aditya's friend, musician Suki Sukosol Clapp of Pru. The second season, set for 2007-08, is to feature Suki travelling with actor Ananda Everingham in Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam.[1]

Also in 2006, Aditya was working on his first feature-length drama film, Wonderful Town. Set in post-tsunami Phuket Province, Aditya secured funding from Singha Beer and Rolex. Shooting was completed in December 2006. More money was needed for post-production work, funds were provided by the Thailand Ministy of Culture's Office of Contemporary Art and Culture.[1] Wonderful Town premiered at the 2007 Pusan International Film Festival. It won the festivals top prize, the New Currents Award and a US$90,000 prize, which he split evenly with two other filmmakers who also won the award, Malaysian director Liew Seng Tat, who won for his film Flower in the Pocket, and Guang Hao-jin of China, for his film Life Track.[7]

Aditya said he would use his prize money to transfer his digital-format footage to 35-millimeter, and he hoped it would have a limited screening in Bangkok sometime in 2008.[1] Additionally, Wonderful Town competed at the 2008 International Film Festival Rotterdam,[8] and was to be shown in the Forum program at the 2008 Berlin International Film Festival.[9]

Working methods

Aditya has remained an independent filmmaker, despite an offer to direct a film for a major Thai studio.

"It wouldn't have worked. It was too far removed from my filmmaking style. But if the studio is willing to make the film with me, in my own style, it's worth trying. It would be difficult, though. There's not much of a market for alternative films here [in Thailand]," he said in a 2007 interview.[1]

Having been educated outside Thailand for many years, Aditya says he feels more comfortable writing his scripts in English language, which then must be translated into Thai language.

"It's the one real dilemma in my filmmaking. I haven't yet really worked through it," he said in a 2007 interview.[1] "But it's annoying as it slows everything down. What I want to say on film still has to go through someone else. I'll try to solve the problem in my next film by making my main character more like me - a Thai who's grown up overseas and speaks English for half the story."[1]

References

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i After the Wave, The Nation (Thailand); retrieved 2007-11-05
  2. ^ Rolex Mentor and Protege: Aditya Assarat, young filmmaker, Rolex Mentor and Protege Arts Initiative; retrieved 2007-11-05
  3. ^ a b c Aditya Assarat, Wonderful Town, ThaiCinema.org; retrieved 2007-11-05
  4. ^ Motorcycle (2000) - Awards, Internet Movie Database; retrieved 2007-11-05
  5. ^ a b Mentors and Proteges, Filmmaker, May 28, 2004; retrieved 2007-11-05
  6. ^ Ma-Mee (2005) Release dates, Internet Movie Database; retrieved 2007-11-05
  7. ^ Thai, Malaysian, Chinese directors to share film award, Agence France-Presse, Channel NewsAsia, October 12, 2007; retrieved 2007-11-05
  8. ^ Rotterdam unveils Tiger Award lineup, Variety (magazine); retrieved 2008-01-25
  9. ^ The Special Screenings of the 38th Forum: extraordinary documents, cinematic excavations, and intoxicating film, Berlin International Film Festival press release; retrieved 2008-01-25

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