Film screening - 'The Island Funeral'

When and Where

Tuesday, March 28, 2023 7:00 pm to 9:30 pm
Innis Town Hall
Innis College
2 Sussex Avenue


Pimpaka Towira


The event will take place at Innis Town Hall, 2 Sussex Avenue, Toronto.
The film screening is free and open to the public. The filmmaker, Pimpaka Towira, will be present for an introduction and Q&A.
Sponsored by the Department of Visual Studies, Southeast Asia Seminar Series at the Asian Institute, and Cinema Studies Institute and supported by Toronto Reel Asian International Film Festival.
Directed by Pimpaka Towira
Duration: 105 min | Format: DCP, color | Language: Thai with English Subtitles |
Production: Extra Virgin Co, Ltd
    • Won the Best Asian Future Film Award, 28th Tokyo International Film Festival
    • Won FIPRESCI Prize, the 40th Hong Kong International Film Festival
    • Won Best Cinematographer, Asian New Talent Awards, 19th Shanghai International Film Festival
    • Won Silver Hanoman Award, Jogja-NETPAC Asian Film Festival 2016
On 19 May 2010, I was driving back from Pattani to Bangkok. Upon reaching the city, it was getting dark. A curfew was announced, with military tanks running everywhere. The situation did not seem to be very different from Pattani where I just left. But I saw the image I never thought before that I would get to see in this lifetime: that of black thick clouds of smoke rising up to cover the entire city. Even though I may have already experienced the anxious situation, of the nation being torn apart, that had been happening in the capital for several months, but this time the image of what happened that day will become forever entrenched in me and my generations’ memories for a long time.
I feel that human memory is a special thing, as each person may remember what they see in different ways or choose to remember it the way they want to. Importantly, memory can last forever or turn into a story being told from one to another. And a powerful story may also become planted in the minds and goes on to be a part of the history of a person, or a group of people, before anyone realizes it. At the same time, memory can also turn out to be a powerful weapon that makes people who strongly believe in it gets extremely violent in defending what they believe.
Over the past few years, I traveled to many places – the North, Northeast and South. I got to talk with the local people and caught a glimpse into their lives while listening to the stories told from their memories. I absorbed the power of those tales from each region, from each individual. At the same time, I also feel that all these conflicts that are occurring right now in my own country may not just be about what is happening right here at this moment, but they are tied to the memories from the past, from the old stories that may either be true or with some added elements.
I take a look at my memory and see a connection between mine and others’. These memories are also connected with those of many other people’s. The confrontation of these mental images makes me feel that I want to create a memory of the idealized world. But whether that really exists or not may not be the point. It may just be the world of hope that only cinema can create.
The Island Funeral is not a film about the conflict and violent situation of the southern Thai border, and not a story of any group of persons in particular. It is film about everybody who is looking for their ideal world amidst the conflicts of the internal clash in their past and memories.
Director's Bio:
Pimpaka Towira is a film director, producer and programmer who is a pioneer among female film directors in the Thai independent film scene since the early 1990s. She received international acclaim for her first feature One Night Husband which premiered at the Berlin International Film Festival. Her second feature, The Island Funeral, won Best Asian Future Film Award at the Tokyo International Film Festival. She has also directed award-winning winning fiction, experimental and documentary short films. She has been a professional film programmer for more than 15 years. Since 2015, she has been the Programme Director for the Bangkok ASEAN Film Festival. From 2017-2018, she was the Program Director for Singapore International Film Festival. She was honoured with the national Silpathorn Award in 2009 by the Ministry of Culture of Thailand. Pimpaka has led the Deep South Young Filmmaker Project I and II with young people from the provinces of Pattani, Yala and Narathiwat that are considered conflict zones


Contact Information


Asian Institute


2 Sussex Avenue