The 47th International Film Festival Rotterdam (IFFR) presents Apichatpong Weerasethakul’s one-off project SLEEPCINEMAHOTEL, an immersive film experience that functions as a temporary hotel. During the first week of the festival, the Staalzaal of WTC Rotterdam will be converted into a dormitory – beds, hammocks, showers and breakfast included – screening hypnagogic images round the clock. Guests who stay overnight and daytime visitors alike are transported to Weerasethakul’s preferred plane of existence: one where sleep and film, ghosts and imagination, the past and the present collide.
From Thursday 25 until Tuesday 30 January, a number of lucky guests undoubtedly have the best beds in town. Thai filmmaker and Palme d’Or winner Weerasethakul (Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives, Cemetery of Splendour) has said several times that he doesn’t mind people falling asleep during his films, but never before has he designed a work so exclusively for this purpose. The projected images of sleeping animals, sleeping humans, clouds and water stir the imagination enough during waking hours, but Weerasethakul believes they can also seep into our unconscious minds while we’re asleep. The projection doesn’t loop; you won’t see the same image twice throughout the entire period of the installation, making each moment spent there unique.
Curator Edwin Carels emphasises the long history Weerasethakul has with IFFR. “In 1998 Weerasethakul received a grant from the Hubert Bals Fund for his film Mysterious Object at Noon, and since then IFFR has supported, screened and hosted Weerasethakul many times. We’re honoured that he specifically chose IFFR for SLEEPCINEMAHOTEL, truly a one-of-a-kind experience.”
To find the immense amount of archive material used, Weerasethakul collaborated with EYE Filmmuseum and the Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision. SLEEPCINEMAHOTEL will also be open to the non-sleeping public for a few hours from 16:00 hours onward every day. The starting date for hotel reservations will be announced shortly.
Weerasethakul is part of the first edition of Frameworks, IFFR’s new platform for audio-visual art. Each year the festival invites two renowned visual artists to propose several emerging talents deserving of a larger audience. A jury then selects two Grant Award Winners (referred to as ‘Acolytes’), who each receive a grant of €10,000 to finish a single-screen audio-visual artwork which will premiere at IFFR. This year, Weerasethakul introduces Pathompon Tesprateep as his Acolyte, a filmmaker based in Bangkok.