Sunday, October 19, 2008

On the set of From the Dark

At last month's Thailand Entertainment Expo, held concurrently with the Bangkok International Film Festival, there were a handful of local distributors and production companies. There were many companies with equipment for hire, which is used by both local production companies as well as foreign film shoots.

Among these firms was Studio Bangkok. I remember seeing their booth on the day I visited, but didn't linger to find out what they had to offer.

However, the first article by a guest blogger on the Thai Film Journal, will rectify that oversight, as James Marshall writes about Studio Bangkok and a visit to the set of an upcoming horror film called From the Dark.

Story and photos by James Marshall, the Dirty Tiger

Studio Bangkok have been in business since 1985 and have worked on many films but they normally work shooting films for other companies, normally Five Star as well as commercials, music videos etc. They have only ever produced and distributed a handful of films themselves. However they own over 200 million baht of equipment. Mostly they rent out their equipment, studio space and trained professionals to anyone who wants it, they have everything from lights to cameras.

However, since they have all this equipment and people, they have decided that maybe during their down time they should start making some more films. At the recent Thailand Entertainment Expo, they had two new films advertised: The Crisis Land and From the Dark.

The company was represented at the expo by Somkiat Sriratnonsung, and to my surprise and delight Somkiat speaks English very well so for once my poor Thai was not an obstacle. We started chatting and it turns out that From the Dark is being shot right now, and more than that, Somkiat is the scriptwriter. Somkiat has a background in music videos but this is his first movie. He invited me to come along to the shoot if I had some free time. Of course I couldn’t turn down the opportunity.

The haunted house
On October 16, I headed for Chaeng Wattana Soi 43 to a place called Moo Ban Karn Bin Thai where the film crew had taken over a house for two days for filming. I sauntered in at 8.30am but the shoot was in full swing since they started at 5am (and worked straight through till midnight ! ). Somkiat was very busy and nobody else there really speaks English. I can’t read the script as it is in Thai and I don’t know much about what’s going on as everyone speaks in Thai. I did ask Somkiat some things about the movie but tried not to bother him too much so he could concentrate on the job.

The main gist of the script is that a well-to-do family hire a Cambodian maid to work for them. The girl is quite attractive and the man of the house just can’t resist having his way with her against her will and he ends up killing her by accident. Her vengeful spirit comes to wreak its terrible revenge. Much of the action in the house involves demonic possession and a smoke filled wardrobe with a mind of its own.

Director, screenwriter and ghost actress
The director is Peerawat Potinet ( formerly known as Vorapote Potinetara ) who has a few films under his belt including serving as assistant director on Headless Hero 2, director on Navy Boys and this year he directed the moderately successful horror-comedy The Ghost and Master Bo. Peerawat was also co-producer for Ghost Mother, Black Family and In Country Melody, all for Phranakorn Films. However, although he has a background as a horror-comedy director, From the Dark is going to be completely straight-up horror, no comedy at all. The cast is made up I think of all complete unknowns.

The film is being shot in DV format, however Somkiat tells me it will have a theatrical run maybe around January 2009.

James Marshall, the Dirty Tiger, can be contacted at querty443 at hotmail dot com.

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