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Fest Thais one on

Bangkok event features 'Opera,' Schumacher

“Andrew Lloyd Webber’s The Phantom of the Opera” will have its Asian preem Jan. 20 at the Bangkok Intl. Film Festival, where director Joel Schumacher is being honored with a Golden Kinnaree career achievement award.

Fest, which is funded by the Thai government, has benefited from a surge in Western film investment in Thailand.

Tony To, one of the producers of “Band of Brothers,” is building a $75 million studio south of Bangkok, where he hopes to shoot a sequel to the HBO series. Several big-budget productions shot segments in Thailand last year, including “Star Wars: Episode III” and “Alexander.”

Fest is honoring Rodrigo Pietro, Oliver Stone’s d.p. on “Alexander,” with a Crystal Lens award for cinematography.

More than 150 pics will be screened in movie theaters across the city as part of the fest. Twelve to 15 of them will be in competition for Golden Kinnaree awards.

Schumacher, who also wrote the “Phantom” screenplay with Andrew Lloyd Webber, also will receive a career retrospective at the fest. Actors from such pics as “Veronica Guerin,” “Tigerland,” “Phone Booth” and “St. Elmo’s Fire” are expected to appear at a gala ceremony the night of the “Phantom” preem.

Pic stars Gerard Butler, Emmy Rossum, Patrick Wilson, Minnie Driver and Miranda Richardson. It will be issued Dec. 22 Stateside by Warner Bros. and released in Thailand by Mongkol Film Distributors.

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