×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Thailand’s Yongyoot Thongkongtoon on ‘Bad Genius’ and Digital Disruption

Yongyoot Thongkongtoon, the Thai film director who enjoys a cult international following, says the film industry in his native Thailand is not in healthy condition. His critique emerged this week as part of a freewheeling in-conversation event at the Singapore International Film Festival.

“In Thailand, in terms of the movie business, it is not healthy enough,” said Thongkongtoon. “The cost of making movies every day is getting higher and higher, but the number of admissions, compared to the price, is getting lower. The size of the Thai market is not enough. We have to push Thai content to reach a global standard of storytelling to expand the market.”

Thongkongtoon said that good films will still survive the current period of digital disruption. “Because of the digital disrupt, people have changed their lifestyles, their habits. Now they want something fast, convenient, anytime, anywhere,” he said.  The filmmaker said that going to watch a movie nowadays requires planning and the whole process can get quite expensive, when coupled with the cost of meals and visits to the concession stands. “Netflix is the key issue,” Thongkongtoon said.

“We have to give the audience a special experience that they can’t find on their mobile or at home, they have to go to the cinema,” Thongkongtoon said.

But he also gave one possible solution to the problem. Thongkongtoon is a director at GDH 559, a company that emerged in January 2016 after the dissolution of GTH, the country’s most successful studio of the preceding decade, and one that is known for favoring originality and strong scripts. GDH enjoyed local and international theatrical success with smash hit “Bad Genius” in 2017. The scale of the film’s following in China has now spawned a television series spinoff that will simulcast in Thailand and China.

Thongkongtoon also revealed that GDH is in advanced talks with Chinese studios for co-productions, but was not yet able to reveal details about the companies or projects. “We have several projects in discussions, we don’t know which one will start first,” said Thongkongtoon.

Earlier, Thongkongtoon regaled the audience with behind the scenes anecdotes about the making of his films, beginning with 2000’s “The Iron Ladies,” 2003’s “Iron Ladies 2,” 2004’s “Maid” and several more of the films he directed or produced.

Popular on Variety

More Film

  • Constance Wu and Jennifer Lopez star

    Box Office: 'Hustlers' Racks Up Solid $33 Million Debut, 'Goldfinch' Bombs

    “Hustlers” rolled in the Benjamins this weekend, collecting $33.2 million when it debuted in 3,250 North American theaters. Boosted by rave reviews and stellar word of mouth, “Hustlers” beat expectations and now ranks as the best start for an STX film, along with the biggest live-action opening weekend for stars Jennifer Lopez and Constance Wu. [...]

  • German Cinema Is Diverse, But Is

    German Cinema Is Varied, But Is It Too Risk Averse?

    One of the strengths of German cinema is its diversity, says Simone Baumann, managing director of the national film promotion agency German Films. As well as the three films at Toronto directed by female German helmers, there was also German filmmaker Thomas Heise’s documentary film essay “Heimat Is a Space in Time.” Then there were [...]

  • Female Filmmakers in Germany Make Progress

    Female Filmmakers Surge Forward in Germany, But Still Face Obstacles

    Four feature films by German filmmakers screened at the Toronto Film Festival, and three of them were directed by women – Angela Schanelec’s “I Was at Home, But…,” winner of the Berlinale’s best director prize, Ina Weisse’s “The Audition,” and Katrin Gebbe’s “Pelican Blood,” the latter two both starring Nina Hoss. Germany’s Oscar entry this [...]

  • Bull

    Annie Silverstein's 'Bull' Takes Top Awards, Robert Pattinson Starrer 'The Lighthouse' Wins Jury Prize at Deauville

    Annie Silverstein’s feature debut “Bull” swept three awards at the 45th Deauville American Film Festival, including the Grand Prize, the Revelation Prize for best first film and the Critics’ Prize. “Bull,” a portrait of a rebellious teenage girl from South Texas, world premiered at Cannes’s Un Certain Regard and marks Silverstein’s follow up to her [...]

  • Constance Wu and Jennifer Lopez star

    Jennifer Lopez's 'Criminal' Striptease: How 'Hustlers' Landed the Fiona Apple Hit

    Contrary to what you might be expecting, the number of songs by Jennifer Lopez, Lizzo and Cardi B in “Hustlers,” their newly released acting vehicle, adds up to … zero. Meanwhile, the standout music sync in a movie that’s full of them belongs to no less likely a choice than Fiona Apple. The scene in [...]

  • Game of Thrones Season 8

    'Game of Thrones,' 'Avengers' Win Big at 45th Annual Saturn Awards

    As Jamie Lee Curtis picked up her first trophy ever at the 45th Annual Saturn Awards Friday night, she had a good luck charm on her arm: former manager Chuck Binder, whom she said was the reason she became an actor. “I was in college and had no thought of being an actor,” Curtis told [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content