Santikhiri means ‘the Hill of Peace’, the name granted by the Kingdom of Thailand in 1978 in order to create a new image for this land. Located in the northernmost part of the country, the are is now a significant tourist destination due to its mix of cultures between Thai and Chinese, despite a CIA report in 1971 that the area was one of the biggest centers of heroin production in Southeast Asia. However, after General Prem’s government came to power in the 80s, everything – drugs, communism, corruption, human trafficking, and stateless persons in this area was entirely suppressed to foster order and peace. But, in reality, can this place be as peaceful as its new name? Since that time, what has been its continued impact up to this very day and beyond? These are the questions that the film poses.
Thunska Pansittivorakul was born in Bangkok in 1973. He graduated in Art Education from Chulalongkorn University. He won the Grand Prize award at The 4th Taiwan International Documentary Festival in 2004 for his documentary feature ‘Happy Berry’. In 2007 he received the Silpatorn Award from The Ministry of Culture’s Office of Contemporary Arts, which is awarded to one outstanding artist each year. The past honorees in the field of film include Pen-Ek Ratanaruang, Apichatpong Weerasethakul, Wisit Sasanatieng, etc. His work has premiered at international film festivals including Berlinale, Rotterdam, Era New Horizons (Wrocław), Visions du Réel, Cinema du Réel, Kurzfilmtage Winterthur (Switzerland),Torino IFF, Torino LGBT, Durban, BAFICI (Argentina), Five Flavours (Poland), Curtus Villa do Conde, DocLisbioa, QueerLisboa, PornFFBerlin, Nuremberg Human Rights, Singapore, Busan, Hong Kong, Taipei Doc (TIDF), Taipei Golden Horse, Beijing Independent, Doc DMZ (South Korea). In 2019 his ‘Santikhiri Sonata’ won a Grand Prize at DocLisboa, Portugal.