Film festival to feature 'Old Hollywood Glamour'

JAKARTA, Indonesia — “Old Hollywood Glamour” will be one of the themes at next month’s Bangkok Film Festival, something of an irony as it shakes off a modern Hollywood scandal.

Los Angeles producers Gerald Green and wife Patricia are presently on trial in an L.A. district court, charged with bribing Tourism Authority of Thailand exec Juthamas Siriwan with $1.8 million to secure contracts worth $14 million to run the fest and other events between 2002 and 2006, when they were ousted.

The trial is the first in which entertainment industry figures are charged under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. The Greens have pleaded not guilty.

Bangkok has had a tough time since 2006, surviving on a drastically reduced budget and without the star wattage — including Catherine Deneuve, Jeremy Irons, Michael Douglas, Oliver Stone, Terry Gilliam and Joel Schumacher — that the Greens brought to the event.

But the fest is putting the scandal behind it as it preps its seventh edition, which runs Sept. 24-30.

“The Thai film industry has expanded both in its technological advances, its professional skills and its artistic development,” says fest director Jareuk Kaljareuk, who also is chairman of the Federation of National Film Assn. of Thailand. “It is ready to take its place as a leading member of the international filmmaking community.”

Some 80 pics have been chosen by the Thai Film Directors’ Assn., but it’s keeping the list close to its chest for the moment.

However, among contenders for the Golden Kinnaree Awards are Canadian helmer Xavier Dolan’s “I Killed My Mother,” which won three out of four prizes at Cannes’ Directors’ Fortnight; Jacques Audiard’s Cannes’ Grand Prix winner “A Prophet”; Lukas Moodysson’s thriller “Mammoth”; and “Burma VJ” by Danish documentary maker Anders Ostergaard.

Celebs scheduled to attend include Jean-Claude Van Damme, Armand Assante and Korean thesp Lee Byung-hun.

Promoting Thailand as a filmmaking destination is also high on the agenda: tourism has suffered from political unrest in the Southeast Asian country.

“The festival is a great opportunity to promote the Thai film industry and Thailand not only as the entertainment hub of the region, but as an increasingly important international filmmaking center,” says Tourism Authority chairman Weerasak Kowsurat.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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