Pipope Panitchpakdi: “It’s Like Being Out There Naked!”

Pipope Panitchpakdi
“It’s Like Being Out There Naked.”

That’s the reason given by Thai film maker and media activist Pipope Panitchpakdi why he doesn’t want to be present when his films are being screened.

A reporter at the recent Mekong Media Forum held in Chiang Mai, Thailand, noted how Pipope headed for the door when his ambitious 2009 documentary, Mekong: The Untamed began to be screened on the first day.

Asked why he was stepping out, he replied: “I don’t like to watch when my films are shown. It’s like being out there naked.”

Fair enough – there isn’t one right way to handle such public sharing, and each film maker does it differently. I know some who simply want to be there from beginning to end, derive great satisfaction from being acknowledged upfront, and are eager to engage the audience after the screening (I’m one of this type). A few prefer to sit quietly and unrecognised amidst the viewers, observing candid reactions of the audience, and may (or may not) own up in the end. Then there are those who leave the room.

But one thing every film maker I know shares with equal passion is that their film be screened with proper visual and sounds. This isn’t as easily or commonly accomplished as you’d think – I’ve seen a good film sharing moment ruined by technical glitches in too many countries, both developed and developing. Having been the victim of such mishaps, I know just how unnerving and frustrating this can be. Ours may be the digital age, but video and audio literacy levels are still very uneven.

Have you had such an experience as a film maker or film user? If so, please share it here!

Author: Nalaka Gunawardene

A science writer by training, I've worked as a journalist and communication specialist across Asia for 30+ years. During this time, I have variously been a news reporter, feature writer, radio presenter, TV quizmaster, documentary film producer, foreign correspondent and journalist trainer. I continue to juggle some of these roles, while also blogging and tweeting and column writing.

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