Scheduling disagreements push event to July 2007

After several rounds of internal meetings and endless frustration, the Tourism Authority of Thailand has decided to postpone the Bangkok International Film Festival from late January to July 2007, due to certain scheduling disagreements between the organizer and the multiplex that was contracted to host the event.

In the press release issued on Friday afternoon, the TAT cites “the decision of a potential venue not to proceed with further discussions with TAT because of financial considerations,” as the main reason of the postponement.

Last year the fest took place at the gleaming, newly-opened Paragon Cineplex on the top floor of a colossal shopping complex in Bangkok’s Siam Square area. It has been widely speculated that every multiplex in Bangkok expects to do brisk business in the second half of January due to the Jan 18 release of Prince Chatreechalerm Yukol’s “The Legend of King Naresuan” part one and two, and thus the theatre would spoil its own chance to make maximum profits if it were to spare several screens for the cinefest.

“It’s best that we postpone the festival, and we will proceed to negotiate with other cineplexes immediately,” says Chattan Kunjara na Ayudhya, the TAT’s International Public Relations Division director.

Last month the TAT cancelled the contract with Film Festival Management Inc, and LA-based firm that organized the festival in Bangkok for four years. And the TAT surprised many by inviting Kriangsak Silakong, festival director of the competing World Film Festival of Bangkok , to become its interim director. The World Film Festival of Bangkok is hosted by The Nation Group, who will be asked by the TAT to become an official partner of the BKK IFF

“The Thai team we’ve appointed will remain on board, and the budget is still confirmed at Bht 130 million,” says Chattan. “We also realized that the situation will take some credits out of the festival, and we’re planning a massive PR campaign to shore up the confidence of every party involved.”

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