Payut Ngaokrachang (The Master of Thai Animations)

Payut Ngaokrachang was born on April 1,1929 at Klong Warl village, Warkoe, Prachuap Khiri Khan province. Since childhood, the young Payut had a special interest on cartoons, especially on comic characters of 'talung' Thai shadow puppet theater, such as I-Kaew, I-Pluei and I-Tang characters. He was also infatuated with Felix the Cat character, created by Pat Sullivan which he saw in his home-town.

The first source of Payut's inspiration on animation started when he accidentally met Sanae Klaikluen, a famous Thai painter, on late 1941. Sanae persuaded the young Payut to join his animation project in Bangkok. Once Payut went into Bangkok to pursue his education in 1944, he never forgot to look up Sanae Klaikluen so to join animation- making as promised. Unfortunately, he missed Sanae many times until he learned that Sanae had passed away. Sanae’s animation project failed two year before due to the lack of sponsorship. Payut then hold the aim to pursue Sanae's wish on making the first Thai animation film.

Eight years later, Payut's dream was materialized when his first animation film was finished under the title "Haed Mahasajan". This short 12 minute animation was specially premiered for only press and some audiences at Sala Chalerm Thai theater house on July 5, 1955, receiving tremendous acclaim. The United State Information Service (USIS) organization realized Payut's talent by awarding Payut, who is the organization staff also for 10,000 baht and sponsored him to have an excursion on animation making in Japan.

Next Payut made two more 20 minute animated film: Hanuman Pachon Pai Krang Mai (The Adventure of Hanuman,1957) funded by USIS, and Dek Kab Mee ( A Boy and A Bear, 1960) funded by SEATO. Apart from working at USIS, Payut also worked on part-time job on making commercial animation films to many products, of which many advertisements are still in contemporary Thai's memory.

From July 1976, Payut devote his time to do the first Thai long animation film ;The Adventure of Sudsakorn". With limited budget and sponsorship, the making of "The Adventure of Sudsakorn" was full of difficulties. Unfortunately, Payut lose his left eye-sight after having worked for two years on this film. The first and so far the only Thai feature animation film was screened on April 1979.

Payut usually went to contact many persons for his animation projects, but he always received rejection on similar saying "Why making cartoon characters which don't have to eat are so expensive. So isn't it better to hire actors to play?"

After "The Adventure of Sudsakorn", Payut has stopped making animation until 1992, when he was subsidized by Film of Japan to make a film for educating girls under the title "My Way".

Now Payut is a guest lecturer on animation at many universities. He is still waiting to see the second Thai feature animation film.

Translated by Pattara Danutra Edited by Robert Himes

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