Tuesday, June 29, 2004

The Cannes effect

Nation reporter Parinyaporn Pajee shed some light on the Thai movie industry's activities at the film market at Cannes. Her feature story yesterday is actually a bit scathing in tone, talking about a breakdown in relations between the Federation of Film Associations of Thailand, led by the President Somsak Techarattanaprasert, and the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT), which is charged with promoting Thailand as a film location and a vacation spot.

TAT put on a big dog-and-pony show with its governor, Juthamas Siriwan, giving a talk. Yakity yak. Thai traditional dancing was the entertainment. Nice I'm sure, but contrast this to 2003, when Tony Jaa from Ong-Bak wowed the French with a Muay Thai demonstration. Somsak apparently wasn't excited and walked out of the affair. TAT also puts together the Bangkok International Film Festival, held annually around January or February.

It should also be noted that while the TAT spent a lot of money to put on this big party, they didn't give one satang to prize-winning director Apichatpong Weerasethakul, who flew to Cannes at his own expense.

The article also dishes up some dirt on the buyout of indie distributor Nonthanand by multiplex leader Major Cineplex, which recently merged with No. 2 EGV. Somsak, by the way, is also the head of Saha Mongkol Films, the country's biggest film distributor and film studio. His company also owns SF Cinema, the now-No. 2 multiplex player (by a wide margin).

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