70 Directors for Venice 70
Weerasethakul was born in Bangkok and grew up in Khon Kaen in north-eastern Thailand. He holds a degree in Architecture from Khon Kaen University and a Master of Fine Arts in Film- making from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. He began making film and video shorts in 1994, and completed his first feature Mysterious Object at Noon (Dokfah Nai Meu Maan) in 2000. He has also mounted exhibitions and installations in many countries since 1998. Often non-linear, with a strong sense of dislocation, his works deal with memory, subtly addressed personal politics and social issues. Working independently of the Thai commercial film industry, he is active in promoting experimental and independent film-making through his company Kick the Machine, founded in 1999. His art projects and feature films have won him widespread international recognition and numerous festival prizes, including two prizes from the Cannes Film Festival. In 2005 he was presented with one of Thailand’s most prestigious awards for visual artists, Silpatorn, by the Thai Ministry of Culture. In 2008, he became the first artist to receive the Fine Prize from the 55th Carnegie International, USA. Also in 2008, the French Minister of Culture and Communications bestowed on him the medal of Chevalier de l'ordre des arts et des lettres (Knight of the Order of Arts and Literature). His film, Syndromes and a Century, completed in late 2006, was the first Thai film to be selected for competition at the Venice Film Festival.
Apichatpong has also completed a short film commission entitled Vampire for Louis Vuitton, which premiered at the Espace Louis Vuitton in Paris. Apichatpong is also one of 20 international artists and filmmakers commissioned to create a short film for the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to mark the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. In 2009, the Austrian Film Museum published a major English language monograph on his work. His latest project, Primitive, consists of a large-scale video installation, a short film, an artist’s book, and a feature film, Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives. This film won a Palme d’Or prize at the 63rd Cannes Film Festival in 2010, making it the first Southeast Asian film (and the seventh from Asia) to win the most prestigious award in the film world. He’s currently working on a project focusing on the Mekong river at a Thai-Laos border.
2006 – Sang sattawat (Syndromes and a Century) – In competition (screenplay, director)