Uttaporn Nimmalaikaew is leading the new-wave art scene in Thailand
6th January 2020 by Will Stewart
MadeGood – Please give me some background on yourself as a film maker, and how you got into making films. Is this film about Uttaporn Nimmalaikaew a typical example of your work?
Daniel Fazio – I’ve always loved cinema and visual arts in general (including painting, photography and some TV). I started making narrative short films in my teens with some friends and a mini DV camera. When it came to going to university I decided to stick with film. So, I started a degree in Rome and ended up finishing one finished one in London! At that time I became really interested in cinematography, so I specialised in that and worked as a DOP for many years. I was always interested in creating images and as I progressed I found that I liked to help director create them to tell their story as well as creating them to make my own films, so now I do a mixture of both.
I think my films are always very visual and probably a bit slow for most people (I love to indulge on images I like). I am fascinated by humans, the way they think and live and I like to share my impression of them using pictures and sounds (including their own voice wherever possible).
Sorry long answer! Yes, I think stylistically this film is really representative of my tone of voice.
MadeGood – How did you find out about Uttaporn Nimmalaikaew, and what made you want to make a film about him?
Daniel Fazio – I was in Thailand for a commercial project and wanted to take the opportunity to shoot a passion project there. I did some research and came across Uttaporn Nimmalaikaew. His paintings had a really interesting and original style athat I hadn’t come across before and it felt like he was exploring something very personal yet viscerally universal. I also wan’t familiar with a lot of Thai art so I became really determined to make a film about him.
MadeGood – What was it like making a film in Thailand- were there many logistical challenges? Was the language barrier much fo a problem to overcome?
Uttaporn Nimmalaikaew and his sister Em made it really easy. They picked us up and took us to their home/studio and really looked after us, it was an amazing day. So logistically it was much easier than I could have imagined – just a few emails and WhatsApp messages!
Daniel Fazio – The language thing was harder. Uttaporn Nimmalaikaew does not speak English so we spoke through his sister who translated. I would ask questions, Em would translate, Uttaporn Nimmalaikaew would answer. In the edit we created a time-coded transcript and sent it back to her and she translated it. We worked off that and then sent her and a few other native Thai speaker friends the edit to approve. We were surprised by how good the feedback was and Uttaporn himself loved the film too.
MadeGood – Uttaporn Nimmalaikaew speaks almost spiritually about his work and the human experience. Were you inspired by his creativity at all?
Daniel Fazio – I was really inspired by him. And actually I get this sense whenever I am in Thailand. The culture is so intertwined with spirituality but in a really humble and gentle way. It seems like buddhist ideas have a real power to soothe the soul and bring a kind wisdom to the those who are close to them. That’s the vibe I got from him and to see him be able to translate that personality and mood to his work was really fascinating.
MadeGood – What are you working on next?
More artist docs all the time, so keep watching