STOP10: Operation Domethong - by Kulapat Aimmanoj

Operation Domethong, directed by Kulapat Aimmanoj, was screened as part of the 22nd Thai Short Film and Video Festival 2018. 

Operation Domethong tells of a crazed dilemma faced by students about the overcrowding issue at the canteen. When authorised adults offer no solution to the problem, a group of students decide to take matters into their own hands.

SINdie: Was the film based on a true event or a personal experience? If so, how did you react to it when it happened? If not, how did you come about with this idea?

Kulapat: Yes, the problem in this short film has occurred in almost every school in Thailand; the issue of time constraint and limited seats in a short period of lunch time. The canteen seems like a battlefield. Whoever wants a comfortable seat and a shorter waiting time for food, he or she must rush to the canteen before others. 

This problem has existed for years and it has become so common in our Thai society, that nobody has taken this issue in serious consideration. Someone who has no power like me can’t do anything. So I chose to make this movie to present the problem that we are facing. In the reality, all we can do is acknowledge the circumstances and adapt ourselves to it.

Chainop is obviously aware of society’s implications on his life as he challenges the normative behaviour of students. Is there a desired societal impact of the film?

Yes, Chainop is the person that takes this situation seriously which he deems as injustice. As it says in the film, Chainop’s life experiences and social status is not as fortunate as his friends. He felt that he had faced several unfair treatments. When he discovered the canteen issue, it triggered his inferiority complex and drove him to do something that he had kept on his mind his entire life. 

The complexity of this character presents the main question of this short film: Is there an inequality problem in society which seems to be overlooked issue by a group of people who have power, control and benefit from such condition? Is it worth for us to do something so serious to take the justice back?

The editing style for most part of the film is rhythmed with quick cuts and freeze frames. What is the driving influence for this?

It stands for the fire of the rebel. It is fast and unstoppable, full of force and contains some references from many heist movies in pursuit to make this film more entertaining.

As most of the cast members are young students, how was the casting process held?

This movie was initially made to promote the club in my school’s open house. So, casting is held by the club. All of the cast members were selected from a number of applicants who came for audition in that event.

Do you have any plans to expand this short film into a longer one?

When I finished writing Operation Domethong, I have to admit that I already thought about the plot for the sequel. The conclusion of this short film was opened in the ending, as I still have a lot of stories that I want to tell. 

But making a movie does not depend on only one person. It calls for many factors. So, I don’t have a chance to do it yet, but if the opportunity comes, I would love to do it, including expanding the story into the longer one.

The interview with Kulapat has been edited for length and clarity.

If you missed Operation Domethong at the Thai Short Film and Video Festival, you can watch it here on Youtube:

Written by Christine Seow
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