Apichatpong grew up in Khon Kaen in north-eastern Thailand. He began making film and video shorts in 1994, and completed his first feature in 2000. He has also mounted exhibitions and installations in many countries since 1998. Often non-linear, with a strong sense of dislocation, his works deal with memory, subtly addressed personal politics and social issues.
His art projects and feature films have won him widespread recognition and numerous festival prizes, including two prizes from the Cannes Film Festival. In 2005 he was presented with one of Thailand’s most prestigious awards, Silpatorn, by the Thai Ministry of Culture. In 2008, the French Minister of Culture bestowed on him the medal of Chevalier de l’ordre des arts et des letter (Knight of the Order of Arts and Literature). In 2011, he was given another honour for the same field with an Officer Medal, and later in 2017, Commandeurs medal.
His film, Syndromes and a Century, completed in late 2006, was the first Thai film to be selected for competition at the Venice Film Festival. Apichatpong is also one of 20 international artists and filmmakers commissioned to create a short film for the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to mark the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. In 2009, the Austrian Film Museum published a major English language monograph on his work.
His 2009 project, Primitive, consists of a large-scale video installation, an artist’s book, and a feature film, Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives. The film has won a Palme d’Or prize at the 63rd Cannes Film Festival in 2010, making it the first Southeast Asian film (and the 7th from Asia) to win the most prestigious award in the film world. In 2012, he is invited to participate in Documenta (13), one of the most well-known art exhibitions in Kassel, Germany. Apichatpong also received the Sharjah Biennial Prize at the 2013 Sharjah Biennial 11, UAE. He’s also a recipient of the Fukuoka Prize, Japan, 2013. In late 2014, he received the Yanghyun Art Prize, one of the most prestigious prizes in Korea. In 2016, a retrospective of his films was presented at Tate Britain, UK. Recently, he was the Principal Laureate of the 2016 Prince Claus Awards, the Netherlands. His current project includes Fever Room, a projection performance about displaced consciousness.
Apichatpong currently works and lives in Chiang Mai, Thailand.