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Bangkok bazaar off to slow start

About 100 exhibitors are present at event

BANGKOK — The inaugural Thailand Entertainment Expo bowed Wednesday with moderate buzz and few buyers, though exhibitors are hoping the atmosphere will change when the event opens to the public Friday.

The Expo, hosted by the Dept. of Export Promotion (DEP) and running until Sunday, is held in conjunction with the Bangkok Film Festival, organized by the Tourism Authority of Thailand and Federation of National Film Associates. The fest began Tuesday and wraps Sept. 30.

About 100 exhibitors, almost all Thai, are at the expo, with players in film, music, animation and television, as well as equipment companies and event organizers.

Rashane Pojanasunthorn, DEP’s director general, said he intends the expo to draw international businessmen and expand the business of many local Thai companies. “Thailand is already the hub of film and TV productions in Southeast Asia, but we can aspire to become more,” he said.

Major Thai companies, from film-music-radio corporate GMM to Federation of National Film Associates and TV production giant Work Point Entertainment, are participating. The DEP has good intentions, said an executive at Work Point Entertainment, “but perhaps the political situation has discouraged some buyers to attend.”

Originally, the expo was aimed to be the film market for the festival. But many studios don’t have booths, and those who do don’t expect any major deals. This is a good event “to make contact with our existing as well as new customers, though it’s more like an exhibition than a real marketplace,” said an executive at a major Thai studio. “But the organization is up to the standard, and hopefully, it will have more impact in the following years.”

Meanwhile, “Vicky Cristina Barcelona” kicked off the fest. The red-carpet screening of Nonzee Nimibutr’s “Queens of Langkasuka” will take place on Friday night.

The festival, which hit a glitch when it dropped a Japanese film shot in Thailand, is smaller than in the past.

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