Thai fest bets on no. 9

Bangkok Post partners for new film festival

What’s the best way to get film festivals back to Bangkok? For some, the answer is 9 Film Fest 2011, whose organizers are hoping that a Thai lucky number will bring them good fortune — and a better future for fests in the city where film festivals have a checkered history.

The 9 Film Fest will be the first such event in the Thai capital since the arrests and convictions of Hollywood producers Gerald and Patricia Green for bribery under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.

The duo ran the Bangkok Intl. Film Festival from 2003 to 2006.

Earlier, in 1998, Brian Bennett, an American and longtime Bangkok resident, had founded the original Bangkok Film Festival.

Now, his 9FilmFest Co. has partnered with the newspaper Bangkok Post as a prime mover behind the new endeavor.

“It was time for a new festival,” Bennett says. “One accessible to everyone who can pick up a cell phone.”

The competition has only two criteria: the submitted film must feature the number 9 somewhere — on a calendar, on a clock — and it must not be longer than nine minutes.

It can be on any format.

The jury will include directors Nonzee Nimibutr and Pen-ek Ratanaruang, actor Ananda Everingham, and Bangkok Post film critic Kong Rithdee, a former Variety contributor.

Supakorn Vejjajiva, president of Post Publishing, says the purpose was to “support new and emerging filmmakers in Thailand.”

“By shooting a film nine minutes or less, everyone can compete on a level playing field,” Bennett says. “So many filmmakers started with short films that I thought this was such a great opportunity.”

Deadline for submissions is April 22.

Nine finalists will be chosen.

Final judging, and screening of the finalists will take place on May 28.

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