At the 12th International Conference on Thai Studies in Sydney (April 22-24, 2014), we were invited by the conference’s organizers to do a presentation on the personal experiences of the Thais living in Australia, particularly in Sydney – the city where Thai people from various backgrounds have migrated to. Given that Pasoot was learning the art of filmmaking (for his bigger projects in the future!), we decided to make a short film on the topic. For us, this project was totally an experimental one. We had never done any film to be screened to the public before. So, we pulled out everything that we had to make it possible within 17 minutes.
Apart from the background of how this film got started, going into ‘the field’ like an Anthropologist was really a challenge for us. Charn is a sociologist whose work relies chiefly on historical document, while Pasoot’s background is in literary studies. Hundreds of ideas about how to best convey the story and how to make it look ‘cool’ were thrown in. However, they all had to be changed after we went through different process of filmmaking.
At first, our idea was to reflect on the various lives of the Thais in Sydney, exploring their cultural backgrounds such as occupations, genders, and generations. Surprisingly, stories from the interviewees not only led us to understand more about the down-under city that we have lived during our study; they also had gradually reshaped our film’s narrative, making it comes to life as it should be. Even more surprisingly, after screening the film at the conference, we learned that the audience discovered from the film messages that we had never come across before. This is even more intriguing for us.
Comparing to the Chinese and Vietnamese, the Thais in Sydney might only be a tiny portion. For us, however, this filmic piece ‘THAINEY’ reveals so much the socio-cultural complexity of the Thais who reside in Australia. And we hope that you will learn the same.[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z7ueqem8mK0&feature=youtu.be]
Thanks for watching
Pasoot Lasuka & Charn Panarut