BANGKOK — Aspiring to become the capital’s No.1 fest, the World Film Festival of Bangkok kicks off today with Japanese-Mongolian epic “Genghis Khan: To the Ends of the Earth and Sea” and more than 70 films.
“We have more partners and it means we have more capacity to continue to grow,” said WFF director Kriangsak Silakong. “This year the European Union allows us to host the E.U. Film Festival as part of the WFF.”
Though lacking premieres, the WFF has packed solid programming since its first edition.
This year’s highlights include Cannes winner “4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days” plus “Import Export,” “The Man From London,” “Love Songs,” “The Band’s Visit,” arthouse favorites “Phantom Love,” “881,” “Help Me Eros,” plus the recent winner of Pusan’s New Currents Award, “Flower in the Pocket,” whose director Liew Seng-tat took part in the WFF’s Produre Au Sud workshop two years ago.
There’s also a retrospective on Taiwanese actress Sylvia Chang, who will be present during the festival.
What are missing, however, are Thai titles, though Silakong reasons that the Bangkok Intl. Film Festival, which he also helped program, had already put together the Thai Panorama section in July.
As the government-sponsored Bangkok Intl. Film Festival is being transferred from the auspices of the Tourism Authority of Thailand to the Department of Export Promotion, and since its future remains uncertain, the WFF is likely to emerge as Bangkok’s foremost festival.
“We have the content and the know-how to make it the city’s No.1 event. What we lack is the money to create the glamour,” said Silakong.
The Nation Multimedia Group is the main organizer of the fest, which runs until Nov. 4 at Esplanade Cineplex, on a budget of around 10 million baht ($300,000). State-backed Modernine TV, formerly known as Channel 9, is a media partner.