Mr. Kidlat Tahimik is a leading Asian independent filmmaker who involves himself in every single step of filmmaking, from script-writing through shooting, editing, acting, and producing to directing. By doing this, he has made a great contribution to global filmmaking culture, and has won international acclaim for his unique style of presenting a distinctively Filipino combination of third-world self-consciousness and pride, wrapping this up in his own individual sense of humour.
He was born in Baguio in 1942. After graduating from the University of the Philippines, he studied at the Wharton School of Business, University of Pennsylvania and received an M.B.A. He worked as a researcher for the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) in Paris, and then returned home to start his career as an independent filmmaker. In 1977, his first film, "Perfumed Nightmare" received the FIPRESCI Award (International Critics Award) at the Berlin International Film Festival, and was shown in the USA in 1981.
This film won him fame in the international world of film production, and had an enormous influence on younger Asian filmmakers. By applying an original method of intermingling fiction with elements of documentary, he presents a naive Filipino driver who is suddenly sent to Paris with his jeepney (a kind of taxi named after 'jeep' and 'Jitney') by an American company, and rushes around the city in total confusion. Amidst the laughter, there are some sharp barbs at the self-righteousness of the developed countries and at the underside of development.
This film was followed by a series of idiosyncratic films, including Who Invented the YoYo, Who Invented the Moon Buggy? and I am Furious Yellow'94; Why is Yellow Middle of Rainbow? The former is about a young man who is possessed by a wild fancy that he should play yo-yo (a Philippine invention) on the moon, and makes a successful lunar voyage in a home-made rocket constructed from ordinary household goods. The latter reveals the turbulent recent history of the Philippines through a home movie recording a son growing up. As a standard-bearer for independent filmmakers, he has continued to be active in making and screening films. At screenings of his films, he performs sketches and dances with a company from the Igorot people. In the field of art, too, he often stays in Takedera in Hanno city (Saitama prefecture) and Echigo Tsumari (Niigata prefecture) to make installation art and films. His artistic work is borderless. Since co-founding the Baguio Arts Guild in 1986, he has done much to help train young artists. In Fukuoka, too, he has performed in Ohori Park, and mounted an exhibition and a film show at the Fukuoka Asian Art Museum.
Mr. Kidlat Tahimik has thus achieved many successes as a leading Asian independent filmmaker. He has also been an inspiration to the young generation as well as working constantly on diverse artistic projects. For such a contribution, he deserves the Arts and Culture Prize of the Fukuoka Prize.