Southeast Asian Independent Cinema

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Edited by Tilman Baumgartel

The rise of independent cinema in Southeast Asia and the emergence of a new generation of filmmakers in the region are among the most significant recent developments in global cinema. A new micro-cinema has allowed small production teams working with small budgets to produce innovative films that have been shown at festivals around the world, where they have garnered positive reviews and won awards.

This type of film - whether radical experimental works, gay love films or digital art-house movies that address the ills of contemporary society - did not exist in region at the start of the 21st century. The privilege of producing films was limited to commercial studios that were often subsidiaries of powerful television stations and produced films in safe genres such as melodrama or comedy, and a small group of independent outfits that made low-grade films in genres such as soft sex, action and horror. The appearance of fresh, sharply alternative, and often very personal perspectives has had a major impact on local film production throughout the region. The fact that digital video has not had a similar impact in other parts of the world gives added importance to the innovations taking place in Southeast Asia.

In Southeast Asian Independent Cinema, the authors document these developments, arguing that they are a genuine outcome of the democratization and liberalization of film production. Contributions from respected scholars, interviews with filmakers, personal accounts and primary sources by important directors and screenwriters collectively provide readers with a lively account of dynamic film developments in Southeast Asian. Interviewees include Lav Diaz, Amir Muhammad, Apichatpong Weerasethakul, Eric Khoo, Garin Nugroho, Nia Dinata and others.

Tilman Baumgartel taught film and media studies in Germany, Austria and the Philippines before becoming a Lecturer with the Department of Media and Communication at the Royal University of Phnom Penh in 2009. He has curated international film series and art exhibitions, and has also published books on independent cinema, internet art, computer games and the German director Harun Farocki.

Publication Year: 2012
304 pages, 229mm x 153mm
ISBN: 978-9971-69-640-5, Paperback

NUS Press