Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Stars make short films for Thai tourism

World Tourism Day is October 26 and to celebrate, the Tourism Authority of Thailand has commissioned five short films for the I Love Teaw (I Love Travel) anthology. The directors are veteran filmmaker Thanit Jitnukul (Bang Rajan, Samchuk) and actors Akara Amarttayakul, Mamee Nakprasit, Premsinee Rattanasopha and Pitchanart Sakakorn. Additionally, a short-film contest was held, and the winning entries will be shown alongside the shorts by the stars. Lekha Shankar had a look at the shorts and has more about the project.

Story and photo by Lekha J. Shankar

Expanding on the tourism-and-cinema scheme it started with the Bangkok International Film Festival, the Tourism Authority of Thailand is sponsoring a short film anthology.

I Love Teaw (I Love Travel) consists of five shorts made by well-known filmmakers and actors, on different parts of the country.

There was also a competition component of the project, open to the public. The deadline was yesterday. Submitted films had to be seven minutes and could be on any part of Thailand.
First prize is 200,000 baht.

The short films made by the Thai stars, as well as the best of the contest entries will be screened on World Tourism Day, October 26, during an exhibition in the Infinity Hall of Paragon Cineplex. The screenings will continue until November 3.

The five shorts by the stars were previewed for the press recently and show how "Amazing Thailand" is viewed by some of its cinematic folk. The diverse destinations, styles and articulations made for interesting viewing.

Each of the stars was given a budget of 100,000 baht, asked to choose a favourite part of the Kingdom that appealed to them and make a seven-minute film on it.

The artists chosen for the project were director Thanit Jitnukul, actor "Golf" Akara Amarttayakul and actresses Mamee Nakprasit, "Cream" Premsinee Rattanasopha and "May" Pitchanart Sakakorn.

Thanit’s film, Coffee Hill, is set in Khao Kao district, Petchaburi, and is a mood-piece starring actor "Bank" Pawarit Mongkolpisit as a youngster tired of the noisy city who returns to his hometown to revel in the peace and quiet of a quaint coffeeshop that faces misty mountains and foggy skies.

Golf's Friendship is set in the Amphawa Floating Market of Samut Songkhram province, and is a heart-warming tale of two children from diverse backgrounds who meet in the teeming marketplace and strike up a sudden friendship.

“Life is full of short memories. That’s why a short film is challenging, because it has to say so much,” Golf said.

Mamee shot her film in the Talay Nai area of Koh Samui, one of her favourite destinations in Thailand. Tang Ar-kard is about two young men who discover the lush beauty of the area and also discover, to their joy, that it is highly affordable -- a valid point. Despite being very busy with the on-going Superstar reality TV show, Mamee took time to attend the press screening and say that directing the short was “a great opportunity to experience the other side of the lens.”

Cream's Will You Marry Me is a romantic drama set in the scenic mountains and vineyards of Khao Yai. The actress plays the lead in the film with actor "Aun" Witthaya Wasukraipaisarn, as a girl who constantly rejects her boyfriend’s ring, until finally the breathtaking surroundings entice her to change her mind and accept his marriage proposal.

Finally there is Long Love by May Pitchanart Sakakorn, shot on Khao Ta Kiab beach of Prachuap Kiri Khan province. May said she was looking for an unknown, untouched beach, and was stunned when she encountered such a place. Her segment captures this sense of wonder and excitement, as seen through the eyes of May and her actress-pal "Ple" Paradee Yoopasuk, who play the role of typical Bangkokian youngsters who catch a boat out of the city and wake up to encounter the serene stunning beauty of Khao Ta Kiab and are dumbstruck in open-mouthed amazement.

The film aptly encapsulates "Amazing Thailand", with all its multi-varied pleasures, from urban delights to scenic wonders.

TAT’s central region executive director Chaisong Churitt said he was "delighted" by the enthusiasm of the stars, who worked hard on the project, despite their busy schedules.

The stars in turn said the tourism project was a "great break" from their hectic film and television routines.

Watch out for the screening of I Love Taew from October 26 to November 3 in the Infinity Hall of Paragon Cineplex.

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