Professor Anocha Suwichakornpong Receives Creative Capital Award

Joséphine Simonian
February 08, 2024

Assistant Professor Anocha Suwichakornpong has received a 2024 Creative Capital Award. 

The Creative Capital Award provides unrestricted project grants up to $50,000 which can be drawn down over a multi-year period, bespoke professional development services, and community-building opportunities.

The 2024 “Wild Futures: Art, Culture, Impact” Awards in Visual Arts and Film/Moving Image represent 50 projects by 54 artists from all over the country. This year's awards were presented to groundbreaking projects focused on painting, drawing, sculpture, public art, video art, architecture and design, printmaking, installation, documentary film, experimental film, narrative film, and socially engaged forms.

Suwichakornpong received the award for her film in development, FICTION, which takes place in a courtroom. While the trial depicted in the film is a work of fiction rather than documentary, the witnesses giving testimony are not actors. They are describing, in their own words, what they saw during a protest in 2010 when the military murdered 90 protestors in central Bangkok. In FICTION, the witnesses are represented by a human rights attorney played by a real lawyer. The Thai government has not allowed the state violence committed in 2010 to be presented in an open public trial, and the trial in this film is occurring in an imagined future that the filmmaker hopes one day becomes a reality. The film is structured around the life-cycle of a courtroom trial, beginning with the legal team investigating the crime, gathering evidence, and traveling around the country interviewing witnesses. 

Suwichakornpong works between Bangkok and the U.S. Her films have been screened at festivals such as Cannes, Sundance, Berlin, Locarno, and Rotterdam. Suwichakornpong’s work, informed by the socio-political history of Thailand, has received much international critical acclaim and has been the subject of retrospectives at the Museum of the Moving Image, New York and TIFF Cinematheque, Toronto. She founded the Bangkok-based production company, Electric Eel Films, to nurture works by emerging talents from Thailand and abroad, and co-founded Purin Pictures, a film fund that supports and promotes independent Southeast Asian cinema. Anocha is a 2019 Prince Claus Laureate, DAAD Artists-in-Berlin Residency, and the Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Residency Program recipient.

Columbia College alum Tchaiko Omawale '00 also received a Creative Capital award for her film, Beast, which interweaves our world and fantasy. The film follows T, a Black woman in her 40s navigating infertility. This project is a biomythography about the Black Maternal Health Crisis told through the filmmaker’s story, interweaving documentary footage with fiction and magical elements. Omawale was awarded the Gaea Sea Change Residency for artists working for social change.  Her feature film Solace was a Semi-Finalist for Sundance Writers Lab 2012 and a recipient of the Panavision New Filmmakers Program 2015. In 2016 the project participated in Tribeca All Access, the IFP Narrative Lab, the Creative Visions Creative Activist Program and Big Vision Empty Wallet diversity program.