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People I Am Generation T: Nattawut Poonpiriya

I Am Generation T: Nattawut Poonpiriya

I Am Generation T: Nattawut Poonpiriya
By Nicharee Phatitit
February 04, 2019
Meet the genius behind Bad Genius, a film that won a record-breaking twelve categories in the Suphannahong National Film Awards, nine awards at the Bangkok Critics Assembly Award and many other top accolades overseas.

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You’re a filmmaker but you’ve never taken a course in film studies. Do you think that’s a disadvantage?
I’ve loved films ever since I was a kid and have always known that I wanted to be a filmmaker. I personally don’t know whether it’s advantageous to go to a film school, although I think it would probably provide you with the important basics of filmmaking. On the other hand I’ve realised that having not attended film school, I had the freedom of not being restrained by the more theoretical side of things. For example, in place of textbooks and papers on methodology, my training ground has essentially been the films that I’ve watched over the years.

What goes through your head when you make a film?
The two features that I’ve made both came from the producers. They’d give me a topic and then it was up to me to turn it into a story and give life to it. Having seen a lot of films and having many cinematic references in my mind, I could, in a way, see in my head how the film should progress and how the story should be told. I then tailor the creative process to match the visuals I have been thinking about. 

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Your feature films Countdown and Bad Genius are both thrillers. Do you want to explore other genres?
I do (laughs). In fact, for Bad Genius I came up with various plots under different genres to present to the producers. It just so happened that they preferred to make the film as a thriller. That said, I’ve directed short films and viral videos in other genres, including romance and drama.

You are one of the hottest directors in Thailand right now. Has success changed you?
I don’t think success has changed me. Rather, I think it has changed the people around me. Success is like a magnet that draws people in. This includes strangers and people who I know but have never been close to—they have started to take an interest in me. On the bright side, it does make things easier to pitch projects—perhaps because success gives you a certain credibility. However, it can also be a dangerous thing. You can easily get lost in it and think that you’ve finally made it, when in reality you’re only ever as good as your next project.

(See also: Generation T: "What Does A Saint Look Like?" With Nick Supreda)

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People Nattawut Poonpiriya Bad Genius filmmaker director

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