Four winning pitches were announced on Tuesday from the Mekong Region Netflix x Purin Pictures Short Film Camp.

The winning projects were revealed as: “Ponay” from Thailand, “The Witness,” from Laos, “Termite Life,” from Thailand, and “Sad Diva Lands on the Moon,” from Myanmar. 

The 10-day workshop was held this year for the second time and involved 12 teams of directors and producers- six teams from Thailand, four from Myanmar, two from Cambodia, and one from Laos.

The workshop was financed from Netflix’s Creative Equity Fund, which also championed a similar exercise “Take 10” in India. The Southeast Asian camp was operated by Purin Pictures, a non-profit organization backed by the Purin Foundation, that also gives grants to Southeast Asian filmmakers.

The proposed films covered topics ranging from family drama and LGBTQ issues, to political repression and the deconstruction of identity. 

The participants were mentored by professional filmmakers from the Mekong Region and were required to present a live pitch of their short film projects. The four winning short films receive grants and post-production support to create their short films.

“The winning four films are varied in genre and style but in all of them, you can see a filmmaker discovering their voice. We identify and invest in young talents with the hope that in the future, they will go on to become leaders in the film and content industries back home,” said Aditya Assarat, a co-founder of Purin Pictures. 

“Ponay or You are Not F***king Welcome,” is to be directed by Hesome Chemamah and produced by Kardpol Nitipisanon. It sees a non-binary person move away from their religious hometown in the deep South of Thailand, but have to return for military draft.

“The Witness,” to be directed by Mitpasa Sitthihukpanya and produced by Konghan Phiennachit, sees a fortune-teller arrested after a woman commits murder, following his prophesy.

“Termite Life,” to be directed by Chonchanok Thanatteepwong and produced by Wannawat Suwannarath, recounts an unusual family reunion.  

“Sad Diva Lands on the Moon,” to be directed by Moe Myat May Zarchi and produced by Vicky Nway, gives free rein to the vivid imagination of a young girl living under a repressive government.

“In my country, we have art, we have films; but we don’t give enough importance to these things,” said Chonchanok Thanatteepwong, from Bangkok, Thailand. “Through this program, my mentor helped me to refine my script and I also learned a lot about producing.” 

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Pitching ‘Ponay’ at Netflix x Purin Pictures production workshop.