Thailand’s key players

A look at important people in the film business

WHO: Avika, Jatusom and Chomsajee Techarattanaprasert
WHAT: Heiresses at Sahamongkol Film Intl.
WHY: The three sisters have been the go-to trio for their father, Sahamongkol Film Intl.’s big boss, Somsak Techarattanaprasert, and have run the show at Thailand’s most prolific studio for five years. Though the final word still rests with dad, their presence increasingly grows as they take on the responsibilities of strategic decisions. Avika runs the marketing arm, Jatusom supervises promotions, and Chomsajee is the head of programming. Sahamongkol remains the country’s busiest outfit, and has upcoming titles like “Ong-Bak 2,” “Chocolate” and “Queen of Lankasuka.”

WHO: Aphiradee “Amy” Eaim-phungporn
WHAT: CEO, Five Star
WHY: By now a familiar face among her international clients, Eaim-phungporn has grown in stature over the four years since she returned from the States to run her family-owned Five Star. She almost single-handedly turned the enervated Five Star of the late 1990s into a formidable force. Her strategy is to juggle crowdpleasing homegrown fare — horror pics like the “Art of the Devil” franchise and comedies such as this year’s hit “Hor Taew Tak” — with arthouse hits like “Invisible Waves” and “The Unseeable.” Five Star’s “Muay Thai Chaiya” will close the 2007 Bangkok fest.

WHO: Visute Poolworaluck
WHAT: CEO, GMM Tai Hub (also known as GTH)
WHY: Poolworaluck is hailed as the guru of movie marketing, armed with experience and an ability to foresee the twists and turns in the biz. Formerly the chief of Tai Entertainment and responsible for global hits like “Iron Ladies” and “Nang Nak,” Visute has built GTH (a merger of GMM Pictures, Tai Entertainment and production house Hub Ho Hin) into an international player over the past four years. Aided by creative head Jira Maligool, the studio boasts a repertoire of quality commercial films, led by “The Tin Mine,” “Dorm” and “Alone” as well as moneymaking comedies like upcoming “Tud Soo Foot.”

WHO: Jirun Ratthanaviriyachai
WHAT: Managing director, Mono Film
WHY: A minor studio that has successfully carved out its own space in the Thai film industry in the last three years, Mono Film, headed by Ratthanaviriyachai, specializes in modestly budgeted commercial fare aimed at the masses. Earlier this year, it scored a hit with “Me … Myself,” a romantic comedy about a gay man with amnesia. The film was bought for a remake by Korea’s K&Entertainment.

WHO: Thanapol Thanarungroj
WHAT: Managing director, Phranakorn Film
WHY: It’s easy to overlook Thanarungroj’s Phranakorn Film as a minor player, a mini studio that churns out unsophisticated horror pics and comedies. But Thanarungroj, who has more than 20 years of experience in managing theater chains, has executed a shrewd strategy of producing midbudget movies that always recoup the investment. In certain cases those pics gross more than major releases , as when the slapstick “The Holy Man” grossed a whopping $4 million in 2005 (the budget was reportedly less than $500,000). With six more movies to open this year, Phranakorn Film looks set to become Thailand’s second-busiest studio.

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