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Mongkol Thai’ed up by AFMA

Reps attend market anyway after they are mistakenly let in

BANGKOK — Thailand’s third-largest film distributor, Mongkol Cinema, had been officially barred from the 21st American Film Market that ended last week, although company reps had been given credentials and were allowed to conduct business.

“In any given market, five to eight companies have been barred,” said Jonathon Wolf, AFMA exec VP and managing director of AFM. “For Mongkol, however, we made a clerical error and they were accidentally badged.”

The credentialing of Mongkol caused confusion among sellers at the AFM as Mongkol representatives turned up to purchase films. The attending reps were allowed to do business throughout the 10-day show.

It was the first time a Thai-based showbiz company had been so treated.

The privately held company, which boasted box office revenues of $10 million in 2000 and releases pics under the moniker Mongkol Major, lost an American Film Marketing Assn. (AFMA) arbitration apparently related to licensing and illegal duplication of movie product. Allegedly, a Hollywood company had brought the piracy complaint against Mongkol to the attention of AFMA.

The Thai government has recently made moves to strengthen its crackdown on film piracy — and Mongkol has been one of its main backers in that effort.

Also barred from the just concluded market was Malaysia-based Sunny Film. Company acquisition and development exec Gilbert Lim is also exec VP of Mongkol Cinema.

Demand to bar a company from attending the mart may be filed with AFMA when the losing party in an AFMA arbitration fails to comply with an AFMA arbitration award. The prevailing party may request that AFMA bar the nonprevailing party for up to two AFM editions.

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