Event has new dates, structure

BANGKOK — The troubled Bangkok International Film Festival will go ahead this year, but with another shift in the calendar.

The Federation of National Film Associations of Thailand said Tuesday that the festival will take place in late September, though the precise dates have yet to be specified.

It is likely that the festival will take place during the same period as the new Bangkok Entertainment Expo, organized by the Department of Export Promotion. This is intended to follow the model of Hong Kong’s Entertainment Expo, which spans both FilMart and the Hong Kong festival. But as yet dates for the Bangkok Expo have not yet been finalized either.

The festival was launched five years ago under the patronage of the Tourism Authority of Thailand, but it has been dogged by organizational problems, clashes with the local industry, a low-powered market and dates that shifted from January to July. Recent months have seen its previous organizer Gerald Green indicted by a U.S. court for paying bribes to former Tourism Authority of Thailand governor Juthamas Siriwan in exchange for the festival management contract. Green’s trial is set for the fall.

In its latest incarnation, the festival will be hosted jointly by the Federation of National Film Associations of Thailand and the Thai Film Directors’ Association, said Yongyoot Thongkongtoon, president of the directors’ guild. The Tourism Authority of Thailand will instead be the main sponsor.

“Operations will be responsibility of FNFAT and the directors’ assoc, and we may have to find additional sponsors to support the event,” said Thongkongtoon.

Jaruek Kanjaruek, prexy of FNFAT was named as festival president, while Tongkongtoon will serve as artistic director. The programming team will be led by filmmaker Pimpaka Towira and Mai Meksawan.

Few details about the fest’s budget have been locked down, but it seems likely that the Tourism Authority of Thailand will chip in around $750,000, down from last year’s $1 million.

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