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British Action Film ‘Close’ Receives Thailand’s First Location Incentive

British director Vicky Jewson’s buddy action movie “Close” is the first film to receive approval from the location incentive scheme launched by Thailand at last year’s Cannes Film Festival.

At Cannes this year, Thailand will host two separate events for project and business pitches, as well as a major party. Thai Princess Ubolratana Rajakanya Sirivadhana Barnavadi is expected to attend the party.

“Close,” due to start principal photography in June, is set in the dangerous world of elite female bodyguards who offer protection to the rich and famous. The movie is produced by the U.K.’s Jewson Films and produced by Charles Salmon.

“We are delighted that the process of application and approvals for the new incentives has run according to schedule, and that we are able to announce the first qualifying production,” said Worateera Suvarnsorn, director of the Thailand Film Office.

The new incentives offer a 15% to 20% rebate for qualifying productions with a local spend of over $1.4 million (THB50 million). Application for the incentives opens three times a year in January, May, and September.

The country last year welcomed 779 foreign productions, including films, music videos and commercials. That was a 7.6% increase from the previous year.  Recent Hollywood productions shot in Thailand include “No Escape” and “Mechanic: Resurrection.” French comedy “Pattaya” also shot in the country.

Wanasiri Morakul, director-general of the Department of Tourism, estimates that the revenue generated by incoming productions will exceed $90 million in 2017.

Two of Thailand’s leading producers, Soros Sukhum and Prachya Pinkaew, as well as award-winning filmmaker Jakrawal Nilthamrong, will pitch their upcoming feature projects at the 6th Thai Pitch in Cannes. The event runs May 22-23 at the Thai Pavilion, in the Village International.

Jakrawal Nilthamrong has teamed with producer and programmer Mai Meksawan to “Anatomy of Time.” Prachya Pinkaew, director of “Ong Bak,” is presenting “The White Shadow” to be directed by Isaree Pongnathapas. Soros Sukhum (“Diamond Island,” “Pop Aye”) is producing artist and filmmaker Taiki Sakpisit’s first feature film “The Edge of Daybreak.” The event is backed by the Ministry of Culture and organized by festival programmer and producer Raymond Phathanavirangoon.

The more institutional Thai Business Matching event is backed by the Department of International Trade Promotion in partnership with Discop, and is scheduled to be held Thursday at the department’s booth in the Palais des Festivals. Thai companies participating include Benetone Films, Eastness Productions, Five Star Production, GDH 559, Hollywood (Thailand), M Pictures, Mono Film, P.L.H. and Sahamongkolfilm International.

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