The three-person jury, comprising South-East Asian filmmakers Eric Khoo, Lav Diaz and Aditya Assarat, applauded the film for its 'raw, original and relentless vision combined with the creativity of technique using one continuous take'.
The jury gave its special prize to Iranian filmmaker Naghi Nemati's Those Three, while special mentions went to Francis Xavier Pasio's Jay from the Philippines and Esteban Larrain's Alice In The Land from Chile. The ten films in the main competition were all from first or second time directors.
Meanwhile, Brillante Mendoza's Serbis took the top prize in the South-East Asian competition, while the special jury prize went to Woo Ming Jin's Days Of Turquoise Sky. The jury comprised Thai star Ananda Everingham, Korean producer Oh Jungwan and former Fribourg director Martial Knaebel.
The festival, which was downsized last year following Thailand's military coup, remains small, but the programming was strong - especially given that it only received the official go-ahead in May - and screenings were well-attended. 'We aim to be a platform for South-East Asian cinema and it was encouraging to see Thai audiences turning out for new directors,' says filmmaker Pimpaka Towira who programmed the fest with Mai Meksawan.
Funding for the event comes from government and sponsors, although its former organiser, the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT), is taking a back seat following corruption allegations that hit the festival last year. New organisers, the Federation of National Film Associations of Thailand and the Thai Directors' Association, are taking it in a new direction with more emphasis on local cinema.
On the downside, there was little synergy with the concurrent Thailand Entertainment Expo (see separate story) and a few bumpy moments in the opening days. These included a last-minute decision to pull a Japanese film Children Of The Dark because the subject matter, child prostitution in Thailand, was deemed too sensitive. The producers of the film later held a press conference to refute allegations that it was shot illegally in Thailand.
International guests included producers Iain Smith and Roger Corman, Jean Claude Van Damme and Hong Kong filmmaker Peter Ho-sun Chan. The festival soft launched with a screening of Woody Allen's Vicky Christina Barcelona on Sep 23 and held its official opening on Sep 26 with a gala screening of Thai director Nonzee Nimibutr's Queens Of Langkasuka.
The festival closes on Sep 30 with the world premiere of Japanese director Naomi Kawase's Nanayo.
Full list of winners:
PVC-1 - Spiros Stathoulopoulos (Colombia)
Special Jury Prize:
Those Three - Naghi Nemati (Iran)
Jay - Francis Xavier Pasion (Philippines)
Alice In The Land - Esteban Larrain (Chile)
SOUTH-EAST ASIAN COMPETITION
Serbis - Brillante Mendoza (Philippines)
Special Jury Prize:
Days Of Turquoise Sky - Woo Ming Jin (Malaysia)
Years When I Was A Child Outside - John Torres (Philippines)