My Thai Bride, directed by David Tucker and produced by he and Michael Cordell, won the award for best mid-length documentary at the prestigious Hot Docs Festival in Toronto on Friday night.
The confronting 54-minute film is about what happens after a Welshman in his 40s marries a Thai woman he meets in a bar and returns to the poor rural area from which she comes.
“My Thai Bride is a film that takes the story of an unlikely couple and through subtle analysis extends their human dramas into a moving examination of political, cultural and economic power dynamics,” reads the jury statement. “It is a film that destabilizes its viewer's empathy through a nuanced and even-handed portrayal of charged, contradictory terrain, and reframes who exactly is the conqueror and conquered.”
The award, one of 10 presented at Hot Docs, is further proof of the film's strength: it was one of four by new documentary makers chosen to be included in the First Factual Film Festival (F4), which is staged early each year as part of the Australian International Documentary Conference.
In the F4 awards, it received a special mention and at that time the jury said it was a film that stayed with them because of its complexity and deeply upsetting moral ambiguity about a subject so often stereotyped.
“It is very well crafted and showed an intriguing transformation of the two central characters – both victims of the global economy."
Tucker studied psychology before becoming a filmmaker and My Thai Bride is his longest film to date.