Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Bangkok International Film Festival going for that 'Old Hollywood Glamour'

A press conference was held yesterday to officially unveil the Bangkok International Film Festival, which is running from September 24 to 30.

According to one person there, the event at the Dusit Thani hotel group's luxury riverside Chatrium Suites Bangkok, was light on details and heavy on ceremony, with a "corny dance sequence", a video presentation and officials making their speeches in Thai, even though it was mostly foreign press attending.

The Nation/Daily Xpress has a story coming out in today's paper:

As visitor arrivals fall off, the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) is hoping lure punters back with "Old Hollywood Glamour" at the seventh Bangkok International Film Festival from September 24 to 30.

More than 200 international and local stars will join the festival at SF World Cinema at CentralWorld and Paragon Cineplex at Siam Paragon, officials said at a press conference yesterday. And they hope it will generate Bt3 billion worth of spending and deals for the local film industry.

“The TAT has invested Bt25 million out of Bt80 million, while the rest comes from the Federation of National Film Associations of Thailand and the private sector,” says Jareuk Kaljareuk, FNFAT’s president and the festival director.

The theme, “Old Hollywood Glamour”, means to combine the Hollywood’s golden era of the 1930s and Thailand of the 1960s.

I think I'm going to be sick. With a trial of husband-and-wife Hollywood producers formerly associated with the Bangkok International Film Festival going on in Los Angeles, I wish the festival organizers had steered way clear of any kind of theme having to do with "Hollywood" or emphasis on opulence, extravagance and glamor.

Well, whatever. Let the folks who are involved with inviting celebrities do their thing and have their fun with red carpets, welcoming banquets and fancy parties. Stars expected to attend include Jean-Claude Van Damme (returning from last year) and current hot hot hot Korean actor Lee Byung-hun from G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra.

There will still be movies to watch.

The opening and closing films weren't revealed but some of the films already confirmed include the Canadian gay drama J’ai tué ma mere (I Killed my Mother), the Cannes’ Grand Prix winner Un Prophete, the Thailand-set Swedish thriller Mammoth and Burma VJ by Danish director Anders Ostergaard.

Programmer Pimpaka Towira says there will still be a focus on Southeast Asian films and it will be even stronger this year.

Somewhere along the line yesterday, The Nation's photographer snapped a photo of Jareuk TAT chairman Weerasak Kowsurat with this year’s festival poster. As with last year, it's designed by filmmaker Wisit Sasanatieng -- a trained graphic artist who usually creates his own movie posters as well. In line with the theme of "Old Hollywood Glamour", it features the guise of 1960s Thai actress Petchara Chaowarat and an apparently non-specific Westerner actor in an embrace inspired by the 1930s Hollywood classic Gone With the Wind.

So perhaps my attitude towards the BKKIFF this year could be summed up best by Rhett Butler.

"Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn."

Update: Hollywood Reporter has a report.

Update 2: An official press release. And that's MISTER Mai Meksawan.

Update 3: Kong's thoughts.

(Nation photo by Anant Chantarasut)

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