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Rising Stars: Meet Chinnakrit Soonthornwan

Today we’d like to introduce you to Chinnakrit Soonthornwan.

Hi Chinnakrit, we’d love for you to start by introducing yourself.
My name is Oak like a tree from Bangkok to Los Angeles with no plan. My family always migrates for a better future. Education was our first objection to getting done. My brother chose software engineer, and I chose filmmaking. From not fluently speaking English to earning a scholarship at CSUN for the biggest prize of that year changed my perspective. We worked in restaurants while in college. I studied everything from photography, grip, lighting, camera, editing, visual effect, acting, animation, producing, and directing.

After eight years, I got a bachelor’s degree from CSUN for Film Production on Cinematography Emphasis. I and my film partner, Thomas Macias formed Blue Shrimp Films. Films were our oxygen. We sold our award-winning pilot tv-series, “Cocaine Sisters” at American Film Market 2019. We were running an equity crowdfunding campaign on Wefunder for Thomas’s feature film, “Nuestro Camino.”

In 2020, Covid-19 hit at the perfect time. Everything paused, but I got hired by Spekulor to be an on-set editor for Kanye West in Wyoming. It was such energy there, and I could not trade that experience for anything. I edited for Dame Dash Studios “Kanye West – GAP, YZY TV” and for Dame Dash Studios feature film “Stoned” and documentary “YZY TV”.

From the experience I earned, I brought back to the Thai community by working with Spekulor Creative, Thai Town Council of Los Angeles, and Thai Royal Consulate LA. We filmed 38 local businesses at no cost for promotional videos. In 2022, LA EATER published our on the This Incredible Thai Town YouTube Series Is a Must-Watch for LA Food Lovers “Thai Town Check-In”.

From day one, having a zero plan, I always thought being a successful artist would make me and my family happy. Nothing is permanent. I have spent my whole life understanding nothing about time. We cannot go back in time and we must know true happiness from within.

My current journey is to bring a good cause to the world through my art. I formed DiER clothing brand (www.onediershop.com) to make a side hustle focusing on mindfulness of death and cat philosophy. I am creating an accessible film course to save creator time from my experience because I value your time. Spend more time with your family. Thank you.

I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle free, but so far would you say the journey have been a fairly smooth road?
The Hollywood industry will never play an easy game with you. And it is a cliche that every successful artist says, “listening to your voice.” Meanwhile, everything traps you from being an artist and financial freedom.

I chose to be an independent artist on bumpy roads. My roads fill with the opportunity to try new things on my schedule. In film school, we only learned how to work in the film industry to survive. At the end of the day, we always work for someone and our voice will slowly fade away.

But, everyone can film and say something. And because of the heavy load of content and films are made based on algorithms and data. We compete with AI and many creators around the globe. I love challenges and the more I fail, the more I learn.

Thanks – so what else should our readers know about your work and what you’re currently focused on?
Life has different ways to look at. Dark comedy is my favorite genre. I portray contrast in joyful content and deep thought-provoking stories.

Thai men get ordained to be Buddhist monks when turning 21. None of my family members care much about Buddhism and other religions. I felt most peaceful in the monk robe and one man came by. He was a Chaplain or someone who seeks to motivate and initiate meaningful use of each individual’s beliefs and attitudes in the management of their difficulties.

I use film and art as my medium to express Buddhism. The more we talk about religion, the people get less interested. Even though Buddhism itself is just an observation of nature, not a religion. The core value is to awaken, heal, or calm someone.

Let’s talk about our city – what do you love? What do you not love?
Diversity plays a huge role in the city. It produces great food and good art. I wish we have more street food and more farmer markets. We always have beautiful sunset at the beach. Thai Town always has delicious food. Everyone can enjoy snowboarding and surfing on the same day. What an active city.

Los Angeles collects a lot of fees. Thieves are more every day. In Hollywood, my previous car got broken into 3 times in my garage. During school, I had to pack and unpack everything from the car to my room to secure film gears.

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