With an extensive retrospective currently underway in NYC, the summer of Apichatpong Weerasethakul continues. Last year, the Thai director held a filmmaking workshop in the forest of the Peruvian Amazon and he plans to do it again this August, but this time heading to the Yucatán jungle of Mexico.
From August 2-11, 2023, and backed by Creators Lab by Playlab films, the workshop features meditating, sharing meals and walks, and letting thoughts emerge in a horizontal dialogue to create an environment in which creative directors, of diverse nationalities and contexts, will give birth to fifty short films. The base will be Shambalanté, a place in the Yucatán Peninsula, one hour from the city of Mérida, that draws on sacred geometry, ancestral techniques and modern eco-technology to achieve harmony between the ages and act as a sanctuary of relaxation and healing. “It is the perfect epicenter to open the senses, listen to the silence and feel the memory of the territory, all while finding one’s own rhythm to imagine and create,” the organizers describe.
The lab will select 50 filmmakers from all over the world based on applications that are currently open through June 15. The workshop fee is around $6,150 and also includes 12 days of accommodation and food.
During the workshop, which had past iterations that featured the late, great Abbas Kiarostami and the intrepid Werner Herzog, filmmakers will be creating their own short films from inception to completion. Ten of the short films will be selected for distribution at International Festivals and all participating directors will then be able to take part in an internal call to present up to two future feature film or series projects at the Playlab Films ProductionLab. In addition to this, the complete color grading for five of the short films will be done by the collaborating company MOONLIGHT.
Read more below.
From a world where only the sky and sea existed came the gods Tepeu and Gucumatz. Attired in green plumes, they resembled feathered serpents. From their will, the mountains, the trees and the animals that gave life and protected the jungle were all born. Later, after suffering with both the inconsistency of bodies made from clay and with the lack of ingenuity of ones made from wood, they created corn bodies. These corn bodies were transformed into flesh, blood, and muscle by the gods and they were placed on the Yucatán peninsula. These newly formed beings were the Maya.
From this Mesoamerican territory, mystical, and nourished by a magical and cloaked ancestry, comes Apichatpong’s dreamlike creation. That place, of hard limestone soil, of cenotes that water sculpted into the dirt with millenary patience giving vital liquid to the Mayas, becomes a meeting point and a channel between the past and desire, between what is seen and what is imagined.
Apichatpong paves the way in, once again, turning the Yucatán Peninsula into the cradle of creation of new narrative universes.