Monday, October 31, 2005

World Film Fest recap

The Nation has a special report (temporary link) today on the recently wrapped-up World Film Festival of Bangkok, recapping the 10-day event's highlights, which included a visit by Roman Polanski and many other things.

The Tsunami Digital Short Films (reviewed here and here) got a lot of notice.

The Culture Ministry's Office of Contemporary Arts and Culture Director-General Apinan Poshyananda and the Taiwanese director Tsai Ming Liang extended their appreciation for the efforts of the filmmakers who addressed the difficult subject of the tsunami with sensitivity and creativity.

Christian Jeune from the Cannes Film Festival asked to have some of the short films in the series shown at next year’s Cannes festival, the article said, but didn't say which ones they would like. Possibly a "best of"?

Nonetheless, there has been some criticism of the films, with the Bangkok Post's Kong Rithdee saying that while there were some good films individually, particularly Apichatpong Weerasethakul's Ghost of Asia, Santi Taepanich's Tits & Bum and the powerful Tsu by Pramote Sangsorn, the shorts as a package left audiences feeling disappointed.

Back to the festival, there was also the Produire au Sud (Producers of the South) film-marketing workshop, which selected three pairs of producers and directors to attend Festival of 3 Continents from November 22 to 29 in Nantes, France, where they can learn more about filmmaking.

The three film projects chosen to attend the festival are A Moment in June by producer Noth Thongsriphong and director O Nathapon from Thailand; Singapore's Forgotten Tears by producer Juan Foo and director Ellery Ngiam; and Ostrich Granny, by producer Lina Tan Suan Jeu and director Bernard Chauly of Malaysia.

Among the surprises at the festival was the success of Russian films. The 7.5-hour Russian version of War and Peace was screened to a sell-out audience, with hundreds being turned away. Doctor Zhivago (okay, not strictly a Russian film) also was screened. The puzzling but brilliant 4 was in the competition. And, Thai Airways is starting direct Bangkok-Moscow flights, and tied its promotional campaign in with the festival and the Russian films. Maybe that had something to do with it?

(Cross-published at Rotten Tomatoes)

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