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Empowering Young, Underrepresented Filmmakers In Thailand To Tell Their Stories

Stories can’t exist without storytellers. That’s why it’s important to invest in people first, which is why Netflix sponsored a short film camp last week for young directors and producers, who are all under-30.

Organized by Southeast Asia’s Purin Pictures, the program serves as a launchpad for these creators from across Thailand, setting the stage for professional success through mentoring opportunities.

Twelve teams, each comprising a director and producer, were selected from 136 applicants. About 60% of the participants hail from central Thailand, and the rest were from lesser-known provinces. By seeking out talents from all corners of the country, the workshop was able to provide equal opportunities to everyone, including those from outside of the Thai capital.

“I truly believe good content can come from anywhere,” said Yongyoot Thongkongthoon, Netflix Thailand’s content director, who spoke at a career mentoring session at the camp. “It’s about giving a diverse group of people the opportunity to express themselves.”

Short Film Camp_Thailand_Yongyoot Thongkongthoon

Yongyoot Thongkongthoon, Netflix Thailand’s content director, taking questions from the filmmakers during a career mentoring session.

Dapho Moradohphana, a Pgaknyau (Karen) filmmaker who spent part of his childhood in a refugee camp along the Thai-Burmese border, is convinced that telling more stories about the marginalized would help city folks better understand the root issues instead of stereotyping them as troublemakers.

“Outsiders can’t fully comprehend what the locals experience, but that’s why stories are important. They allow us to connect and empathize with those who live different lives to ours,” said Abdulhady Chemreh, a budding director from a fishing community in Pattalung.

Honing skills and making friends

From pitching to casting, the nine-day program ensured the participants were well-equipped on all aspects of the filmmaking journey. Aspiring directors got to work personally with script consultants to develop their screenplay, while those on the producing track learned about budget allocation and film distribution. 

“It really broadened my horizons. I received in-depth training on producing, which I didn’t have in film school,” shared participant Rachaya Soranakom.

Held from 3 to 12 December 2021 in Bangkok, the program culminated in a live pitch, where three director-producer teams — Tinshine Mont and Christine Flemming, Supamart Boonnil and Ratthathammanoon Supapootorn, and Muendaw Kamontum and Kataporn Saeieb — won US$5,000 and a post-production package at White Light Post and Kantana Sound Studio.

Short Film Camp_Thailand_Workshop

Filmmakers get hands-on practice on how to direct actors.

For many, the career Q&A session with Yongyoot opened their eyes to the business side of filmmaking. “We don’t make films just to follow our dream, but we also need to make money. If we really want to pursue a career in this, then we need to find a way to marry the two,” recounted Jiratchaya Kriya, a producer.

This is the first time Netflix has sponsored a workshop in Thailand through its Netflix Fund for Creative Equity, a global initiative announced earlier this year which will spend US$100 million from now through 2026 to support underrepresented communities in the industry.

“My vision for Netflix Thailand is to be a place that builds opportunities for a new generation of creators,” said Yongyoot. “It’s about how we contribute to the industry, uplift current standards and create better work environments that lead to creative excellence.”

Wow Pongpanich
Head of Public Relations (Thailand)
[email protected]

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