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A Moment with O Nathapon and his A Moment In June

  Writer: Sorradithep Supachanya
Based on the Thai-language interview by Nuttorn Kangwangklai
  ©all rights reserved
   
 

Following the footsteps of Apichatpong Weerasethakul, and Aditya Assarat, O Nathapon, with his first feature film A Moment in June started to travel in a number of film festivals. From the biggest film festival of Asia, Pusan to the indie set-out World Film Festival of Bangkok, O Nathapon looks set to be the next must-watch director in the Thai independent film industry. Here is his story.

A Stake : Between family business and natural talent

O Nathapon, born Nathapon O Wongtrinetrakulin Thailand, spent his high school years in England where he first took great interest in film and photography. He later pursued filmmaking at the Art Center College of Design in California, where he made a name for himself with his thesis short film project Bicycle and Radio, completed in 2004.

Bicycle and Radio received positive feedback. It was screened in 30 film festivals around the world and served as a proof to his family of his natural talent. O Nathapon recalled his family expressing concerns about his chosen path and consoling him that he could always return to work in the family business if filmmaking didnt work out. O Nathapon knew an office job wasnt for him; he loved films and filmmaking. Following the success of Bicycle and Radio, his family has never asked of his wish to return to the family business.

Shortly after, O Nathapon pursued theatre in London and started writing the script for his first feature film A Moment in June. The director confessed that he wanted to make a drama and a period piece. That was how A Moment in June came to contain both components.

At the 2005 World Film Festival of Bangkok, his project was selected among the 10 screenplays in the Produire au Sud workshop, which provided a channel for producers and directors to obtain funding. He went to the Three Continents Film Festival in Nantes, France for additional funding (with Noth Thongsriphong as producer before he went on to make his own middle-length film Lost and Found), but soon realized that an international co-production would be more complicated than necessary. He returned to Thailand and eventually found a local benefactor, as well as contributing his own money into the project.

Moments of Happiness and Struggle

 

 

A Moment in June tells a story of six characters whose lives, hopes, wishes, and decisions are intricately intertwined through juxtaposed music and differing time periods.

The story began in 1999 on a train as it prepared to leave the station. Two men (Shahkrit Yamnarm and Napassorn Mitaim), whose shattered relationship looked impossible to amend, walked separate ways as they tried to put their lives back together despite the pains. On the train, one of the men met a middle-aged woman on her voyage to see her lover once again after their missed rendezvous 27 years earlier. In 1972 in a local theatre where a woman playwrights drama was being performed, a real-life love triangle between a Japanese husband, a Thai wife, and a Thai closed friend was happening.

A Moment in June secured a total funding of 9 million baht ($260,000). Despite the small budget, the film managed to gather many popular veteran actors in Thailand, such asKrissada Sukosol Clapp (from Chookiat Sakweerakuls 13 Beloved) and Shahkrit Yamnarm (from Danny & Oxide Pangs Bangkok Dangerous). O Nathapon admitted that he preferred working with veteran actors partly because he had worked with some of them before, such as Shahkrit Yamnarm in Bicycle and Radio, but primarily because his film followed a dramatic plot which demanded experienced acting skill which newcomers had yet to hone.

The filming was well-planned at least a year in advanced, and thus faced few problems. His team knew exactly which was required in each scene. The only hurdle was the actors schedules, as each one was busy with their own works. The filming took 30 days from August to November 2006, and the post-production was completed a year later.

The Next Step


A Moment in June will be released in Thailand by Sahamongkol Film in January 2009. Prior to the domestic theatrical release, the film was opened at this years World Film Festival of Bangkok.

O Nathapon wanted to take his film to various film festivals around the world, but confessed that he was unsure which one to start. Originally he wished to submit it to Cannes Film Festival but could not complete it in time.

While his first feature film had yet to be released, O Nathapon was already drafting the script for his next projects. He specifically mentioned veteran actor Chatchai Plengpanich as one of the top Thai actors that he wanted to work with. In any case, he now has his own production company, The Story of O, and his first feature film A Moment in June to take care of. And, he knew it was best to take one small, steady step at a time.

   

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