By Wariya I.
Jim Francis, who directed Eat Me! along with his dedicated makeshift crew, won the title of “Darkest Film” at the 60 Second Film Festival 2020 which was held at Whitelines on February 20th, 2020. Although its playful title may suggest it were a shallow bit of fast entertainment, this powerful 60 second short is a reflection of our consumption, specifically of the overindulgence of meat which life-swapping premise may raise a question about our coexistence as living beings among the “animal kingdom”.
Foodies OFFICIAL Asia asked Jason Kai Kennedy who was part of the film crew and he said, “What is dark is the reality that we show in the film. We are simply reversing the roles between animals and humans and dramatizing to push home the hedonistic and selfish attitudes– which all of us humans are responsible for.”
The 60 Seconds Film Festival is a film festival organised by Oliver Wolfson of Whiteline who has always been a big supporter of the film community in Bangkok. This film festival started in 2006 and has grown a reputation among independent filmmakers and young filmmakers.
The film, Eat Me! is a put-yourself-in-their-shoes kind of film by role-swapping as animals are on top of the food chain, buying a seasoned white male human from a passing street vendor and eating him as if his life were meaningless, as the way most of us meat-eaters may do.
Jim had the help of many people to make this unpaid-project happen, Jim said, “On the shooting days we were hugely supported by local street vendors from Convent Road. One allowed us to use his cart (thanks Lin Kong), and when we shot on an alleyway nearby a local resident named Nong, jumped right in and was the best location manager we could ask for.”
When asked what inspired Jim to produce such a topic for his film, he reflected on one defining moment he had to eat in an outdoor food court in the hip Ekamai area, “I looked to the ground next to me and saw a blasély disposed of chicken foot and it immediately reminded me of the title for William S. Burrough’s book “Naked Lunch”, which Burroughs said originated when his beatnik-buddy, Jack Kerouac observed over lunch with Burroughs how absurd it is to represent ourselves as ethical, fashionable beings, having discussions of politics and world issues while at the end of our fork lays a dead corpse.
The scene continues from the purchase of a man-meat from a street vendor to a dingy back-alley party, with masks of farm animals, chickens, buffalo, and rabbits, etc. on human bodies. These animal head figures perform ritual dances, drink booze, and smoke cigarettes after a bongo-thumping session of human flesh-eating. “It was a very fun collaborative effort, much of the dancing seen in the film kept going off-camera.”
Jim and his crew, To-Ma-Toes is part of the LGBTQIA friendly group that invites people of all backgrounds and skill levels who are passionate about filmmaking. They entered the film festival by making a post on Bangkok Filmmakers group on Facebook. Jim said of the response, “There was a decent amount of interest in the post, and we ended up with a small, but passionate trio to begin our moving-image-makers group, we are calling ourselves ‘To-ma-toes’ ”
So what’s in store for these future filmmakers? “We are quite excited for the next open Moving Image Makers meeting in April. Anyone who wants to join can check for updates by joining the Bangkok Filmmakers group on Facebook. The next To-ma-toes project might be a whole lot darker.”
You can watch the film here:
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Author: Wariya I.
Wariya has a strong passion for cocktails, and you may have met her several times but she likes to keep it casual and low-profile. She also likes to enjoy quality tea, especially Japanese green tea.