British filmmaker Kaprice Kea landed in Bangkok in January 2000, a few weeks after the skytrain opened. He had arrived with 85kg of personal belongings and his screenplay, Butterfly Man. Secure in the knowledge that back in London, his producer partner Tom Waller had raised enough private funds to finance the shooting of the film, Kaprice had not just come to prepare the production but with the intention to begin a new life in Thailand.
On Wednesday, 20th April, Kaprice recounted the key steps that led to the dream being realized at the Pattaya City Expats Club (PCEC). Butterfly Man was recognized as the first foreign “indie” to be shot in the kingdom. He also presented clips of his other productions and provided rare insights from working in the international sector of the local film industry for more than two decades.
Pro-active amongst the 90’s new wave of UK directors, one feature already “under his belt,” and with well-known UK Director Danny Boyle’s enthusing about Kaprice’s debut short, Honeymoon Beyond, lauding it as “Excellent… shot with distinction, energy, commitment and vision … a real filmmaker”, why did Kaprice leave behind his life in England and choose Thailand? The clue may have come from his answer to a member of the audience. He described ‘inspiration’ as the essential fuel to sustain a filmmaker on the long, tough, and sometimes hazardous journey to complete a film.
From writing a first draft in 1998, Kaprice described how he returned twice a year to address any ‘unknowns’ in his story. This included sourcing an Isaan village for the closing sequences of the film. On Koh Phang Ngan, given a scrap of paper with an address scribbled in Thai, he made the epic overland trip from the southern island via Bangkok and then to the far northern province of Sakhon Nakhon. Despite its remote location, Kaprice found Koh Putsa, was befriended by the English-speaking monk and was welcomed by the community.
Inspiration may be an essential fuel to sustain a filmmaker, but there are times when a blessing would help. It seemed so on the Saturday evening before the team was set to leave for Koh Samui on Monday. Having searched for two years, a key element of the film was still missing—”The Thai Female Lead.” Since there was no one remotely suitable to play the role, Kaprice and producer Tom Waller took a break and went to Khao San Road for a much-needed beer. And it was through the legs of tourists and party-goers that Kaprice spotted an extraordinary face. He then described what happened next, noting the face belonged to 19 -year-old Napakpapha ‘Mamee’ Nakprasitte, and what happened after which led to Kaprice casting her for the lead role the following day. The next day the team left Bangkok to start pre-production on Koh Samui.
After screening the trailer, Kaprice summarized his other productions and activities in film. In 2001, he set up Fluid Film Co Ltd. (Fluid), giving weekly workshops in screen acting (and they continue 20 years later). His mission to train local actors to a standard suitable for working on international films was rapidly achieved. It naturally followed that Fluid advocated and represented the interests of local actors.
Kaprice presented the audition tape he shot of Krystal Vee in Bangkok. She was subsequently cast as Princess Silda, the female lead in Scorpion King 3, and now lives and works in Hollywood. Fluid has produced music videos, including “I Wanna Be Your Dog,” which launched the electro-clash band, Futon. Kaprice also produced and cast Glory Days, a US movie shot in Pattaya in 2009. He has cast 12 international productions and has several credits as an acting coach.
Kaprice returned to directing features in 2016 when he came to the rescue of his friend’s film, The Attic. Though he does not believe in ghosts, the inexplicable appearance of a ghostly white hand in Eric Nelson’s photograph prompted Kaprice to make his first documentary, If The Walls Could Scream.
In conclusion, Kaprice mentioned that as recently as last Christmas, only four months ago, the original tapes for another film Bootleg Guru that had gone missing for 15 years, were discovered by the camera assistant when moving apartments. Kaprice is committed to cutting the film together and finally completing it.
MC Ren Lexander brought everyone up to date on the latest events. This was followed by George Wilson conducting the Open Forum where attendees could make comments or ask questions about Expat living in Thailand, especially Pattaya. For more information, visit the PCEC’s website at https://pcec.club
Kaprice’s presentation can be viewed on the PCEC’s YouTube channel at: https://youtu.be/GawmTtbP7hU