Bangkok festival honors favorites

Argentinian film “XXY” won the Golden Kinnaree award at the Bangkok Intl. Film Festival on Saturday.

Chinese pic “Lost in Beijing” took home the special jury prize and James Lee’s “Before We Fall In Love Again” won the separate Asian competition.

With “Love Conquers All,” “Kala,” “Pao’s Story” and “The Bet Collector” also in the lineup, the fest again did a good job of showcasing new Southeast Asian pics .

The fest, which wrapped with a lavish gala dinner presided over by Princess Ubolratana, still faces questions about its budget, its relevance to the local industry and its ability to connect with local Thai moviegoers.

Attendance seemed to be down vs. last year, with some blaming a smaller promotional budget. But certain titles attracted large crowds, including British thriller “Red Road,” Indonesian drama “Love for Share,” and the sexually explicit U.S. title “Shortbus,” which was shown without cuts. Local fave Pen-ek Ratanaruang’s “Ploy,” which was cut for commercial release in Thai theaters, was also shown at the fest in its uncensored version.

The concurrent Bangkok Film Market was thinly attended, and indications from the Tourism Authority of Thailand that it may cease to bankroll the festival next year combined to leave some participants concerned for the fest’s future viability. The TAT is currently the only source of government coin for the industry, prompting questions about the possible impact if it does pull out.

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