Bangkok festival gets green light

Film fest to be held September 23 -30

BANGKOK — The Bangkok International Film Festival got an official green light Tuesday when the Tourism Authority of Thailand and Federation of National Film Association of Thailand (FNFAT) announced the fest date of September 23 to 30 at a press conference.

Previous editions of the fest have been battered by date changes, industry boycotts and a corruption scandal.

“What makes this year’s festival special is that it is the result of unprecedented co-operation and collaboration between some of the keenest minds of the film industry,” Juthapon Rerngronasa, deputy governor for marketing communications of TAT, said. “We are presenting the BKK IFF jointly with the FNFAT and expecting thousands of visitors and press to arrive in Bangkok this September.”

Surprisingly, the press conference made no mention of the Bangkok Entertainment Expo, organized by the Department of Export Promotion. The Expo, modeled after Hong Kong’s Entertainment Expo, was mooted as an international marketplace for film, music, games and animation.

It is believed that the TAT has moved the date of the BKK IFF from July, as it was last year, to September to coincide with the proposed Expo and to create more impact for the film and entertainment industry.

President of FNFAT, Jaruek Kaljaruek, who is also the head of Kantana Group, will serve as festival director. Youngyooth Thonkongtoon, president of the Thai Directors’ Assoc, will be artistic director. The programming team is headed by Pimpaka Towira.

“We will put a focus on Asian movies, plus world-class cinema from everywhere else,” said Thongkongtoon. “The main competition will be first or second films from upcoming directors, but we will find good films from elsewhere to showcase to the audience too.” In all, around 80 films will be shown, according to Towira.

It has not been confirmed, but it is believed the FNFAT will receive around Baht 25 million ($780,000) from the TAT to run the festival. Of that amount, around $160,000 is allocated to programming. It is likely that the FNFAT is looking for other sponsors to cover other areas of operation.

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