Acclaimed for his collaborations with filmmakers Luca Guadagnino and Apichatpong Weerasethakul, including the latter’s world premiere of Mysterious Object at Noon at IFFR 2000, Thai cinematographer Sayombhu Mukdeeprom returns to IFFR 2022 to receive the third annual Robby Müller Award. With the award, the jury celebrates his ongoing contribution to contemporary cinema and visual culture, and explains, “we believe his approach has not only put a significant mark on the global auteur cinema of the 21st Century, but it also echoes the classic ethics and aesthetics of Robby Müller.”
Set up in memory of the legendary Dutch cameraman, the Robby Müller Award is awarded annually to an imagemaker who, analogous to Müller, has developed an authentic, believable, moving visual language. Thai cinematographer Sayombhu Mukdeeprom is the third winner of the Robby Müller Award, after Mexican director of photography Diego García in 2020 and American director Kelly Reichardt in 2021.
IFFR 2022’s recipient Sayombhu Mukdeeprom debuted as a cameraman with Mysterious Object at Noon by his compatriot Apichatpong Weerasethakul, for whom he has since shot almost everything, right the way through to the most recent film Memoria, which is set for release in the Netherlands later this year. In 2015, he expanded internationally with the epic trilogy Arabian Nights by Portuguese director Miguel Gomes. In recent years, he has developed a new, very fertile cooperation with Italian Luca Guadagnino, with whom Mukdeeprom shot Call Me By Your Name and Suspiria.
The jury was made up of art historian and Robby Müller’s wife Andrea Müller-Schirmer, editor Jay Rabinowitz, ACE, cinematographers Josje van Erkel, NSC and Richard van Oosterhout, NSC, and IFFR programmers Evgeny Gusyatinskiy and Gerwin Tamsma.
Some words from the jury: “The images that Mukdeeprom creates always captures the fragility of things, an immanent tactility, understated yet profound. Somehow, the result appears to honor these things: be it a man, a plant, a ray of light, a dance, a dream, a flow of time, nature itself. When he films an empty space, it becomes clear that it was actually never empty.
We can say that Sayombhu’s quiet, respectful eye has animated even the most surreal stories, revealing them as real, or at least potentially real. He discovers the real, the natural, and the sensual within the realm of pure fiction. And vice versa: when he turns his camera to things undoubtedly real and unstaged, his images conjure up dreams and mysterious imaginations.”
Sayombhu Mukdeeprom’s Big Talk – in which he discusses his cinematic language, structural choices and his relationship with Robby Müller with cameraman and member of the Netherlands Society of Cinematographers Joris Bulstra – is available worldwide from Thu 3 February, 19:00 on IFFR.com.
The Robby Müller Award is a collaboration between IFFR, the Netherlands Society of Cinematographers (NSC) and Andrea Müller-Schirmer.