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The World Film Festival of Bangkok wrapped up its comeback 15th edition on Sunday with an efficient prize ceremony and double-bill screenings of Belgian film “Close” and local title “Arnold Is a Model Student.”

The festival ran Dec. 2-11, 2022, after a five-year hiatus, seemingly caused by a lack of funding and political will, and the death this year of its dynamic founder Kriengsak ‘Victor’ Silakong. Artistic directing duties were taken over by local producer and film critic Donsaron ‘Don’ Kovitvanitcha.

In what it said was a unanimous decision, the jury gave its top prize to “Klondike,” Mayna Er Gorbach’s anti-war drama from Ukraine.

The best director prize, worth THB100,000 ($2,850) was awarded to Serbia’s Dusan Zoric and Matija Gluscevic co-directors of “Have You Seen This Woman?”.

A grand jury prize was awarded to Ananta Thitanat, whose documentary “Scala” charted the demise of Bangkok’s last stand-alone art cinema, caused the director to face up to childhood memories and interacted with the person charged with dismantling the historic venue.

Another jury award, for best screenplay was split between two titles Japan-China production “Stonewalling” and Slovak-Czech-German drama “Victim.”

A jury prize for technical achievement (cinematography and editing) went to India’s “Autobiography,” while another went to Pakistani transgender drama “Joyland” for best ensemble.

The ceremony was attended by two ambassadors and two star-name directors from the Asian art-house circuit, The Philippines Brillante Mendoza and Apichatpong Weerasethakul, Thailand’s only director to have claimed the Palme d’Or at Cannes.

Weerasethakul was presented with a special prize, quickly known as the Victor Award, in memory of the late Kriengsak. His acceptance speech was the longest and most touching of the evening. It recounted Kriengsak’s many passions. “Food, travel, film and sex. Especially sex,” said Weerasethakul.

The director also urged the crowd to persist in their dreams and in their involvement. He cited an example of a previous minister who had dismissed him as someone who makes films that nobody watches. “Yet I’m still here,” Weerasethakul said. “Appreciate the journey. Appreciate the connections. We are all part of the conversation.”

Kovitvanitcha may have appreciated the thought. He built a thoroughly respectable screening program with many of the best-known art films of 2022 – Jafar Panahi’s “No Bears,” “Charlotte Wells’ “Aftersun,” Carla Simon’s “Alcarras” – among them. In doing so, he struck a defiantly cultural note in the heart of a Bangkok district that riffs on the garish here-and-now and thrives on conspicuous consumption.

He suffered the indignity of a fire on the ground floor of the giant Central World shopping mall which disrupted his first full day of programming. At the closing event Kovitvanitcha professed himself “satisfied” with the results of the comeback edition and promised to do better in 2023.