|Pimchanok "Bai Fern" Luevisadpaibul and Vithaya Pansringam were among the Thai stars gracing the fest. Photo via Facebook.|
Hastily thrown together in just one month by the Thailand Film Office under the Department of Tourism, the first Thailand International Film Destination Festival ended on Wednesday, attracting industry pros and celebrities to seminars and red-carpet events, plus regular cinema-goers to watch free screenings of made-in-Thailand foreign features.
Due to conflicts with the previously planned Salaya International Documentary Film Festival and my usual work responsibilities, I was unable to attend.
If it's held next year, I hope organizers will make an effort to check the calendar for conflicts with other film events in Bangkok, and give folks a bit more time to make plans to attend.
Nontheless, Film Business Asia was there and they report good attendance at the film festival's handful of actual movie screenings, among them Dutch director Mads Mathhiesen's romantic comedy Teddy Bear, the Taiwanese-Hollywood political thriller Formosa Betrayed, Oxide Pang's gritty The Detective and even Danny Boyle's The Beach. All were shown at SF World Cinema at CentralWorld for free.
The festival's centerpiece was the Amazing Thailand Film Challenge, in which foreign and Thai teams of filmmakers raced around to make low-budget shorts im in competition for the 1-million-baht ($30,000) top prize. Check Film Biz Asia for the winners.
Primarily geared for film professionals, with various seminars and other events, a resounding theme by folks in attendance was that while Thailand remains attractive, due to the diversity of locations and the many experienced film crews, the government needs to follow through with promises of incentives to foreign productions or else risk being bypassed in favor of places like Singapore or Malaysia.
There were other complaints too, which are chronicled here.