Event will emphasize Asian cinema

BANGKOK — Thailand’s Tourism Authority has quashed widespread rumors that the Bangkok Film Festival would be canceled by announcing its July 19-29 dates at a packed press conference on Wednesday.

But expect no extravaganza. Fest will operate on 60 million baht ($1.5 million) vs. last year’s $4.7 million.

Tourism Board PR director Chattan Kujara Na Ayudha is the new fest director, and Thai programmers Chalida Uabumrungjit and Mai Meksawan will make the film selections.

“We aim to put an emphasis on Asian cinema and to make the festival more friendly to the Thai audience,” said Chattan.

He added that there had been “some complications” over the budget following the change of government after last year’s coup.

Fest is emerging from seven months of confusion. In August, it discontinued the services of Film Festival Management, the L.A.-based firm that has organized the glitzy event for four years. Then the fest was sudden postponed from its originally slated dates of Jan. 26-Feb. 5.

In December the fest approached Kriangsak “Victor” ┬áSilakong, director of the competing World Film Festival, to head the event. Chattan could not confirm whether Silakong, who’s attached to the Nation newspaper, is still aboard.

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