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Published on Feb 4, 2007
This is an award winning Thai short film about a tribal person who takes offense at a racial slur by a comedian on TV and thus becomes determined to get right up there on the TV, where he can faithfully represent his culture and make it look good.
Lahu Funnyman stars "Yaka Champion", the stage name for Yaka, from the Lahu hilltribe village on Yafu Mountain in Chiang Rai, Thailand. While on Yafu Mountain Yaka struck me as a fun guy who could be just as fun on film, so I asked him to be in this movie. During the filming of Lahu Funnyman Yaka actually did a number of performances with a comedy group I co-founded, and was really funny even though he'd never been in any kind of staged show before.
This film was produced for the Mirror Art Foundation (an awesome charity, check them out at www.hilltribe.org and www.mirrorartgroup.org!)and made possible through a grant from the Rockefeller Foundation. Because the film was for charity many famous comedians were happy to make cameo appearances free of charge. The music for the film was provided by an Akha hilltribe music group. I wrote, directed, and appeared in Lahu Funnyman alongside almost every Thai comedian I'm friends with. I was of course ecstatic about winning an award, but I was never fully happy with the result of this film, partially because I had to complete it on a budget, within a time frame, and all by myself. If there is significant interest I will put together a new Director's Cut which I feel would do the story more justice, and do "official" subtitles, which were not included in the film when screened in Thailand. It would increase the running time to about 15 minutes and include more cameos by other comedians. So, everyone please let me know what you think. Otherwise my time will be spent working on my current project, a fun travel show for Thailand and SEAsia which you can check out on my youtube channel.