Monday, November 2, 2009

Bitter/Sweet premiering at Mumbai Film Festival

For its Asian premiere, the Thai-Hollywood romance Bitter/Sweet has bypassed Thailand altogether. It was to have made its bow at the cancelled Phuket Film Festival back in June (fingers crossed that festival will happen in June 2010). Now the film's cast and crew are in Mumbai, where Lekha Shankar is following them.

Story and photo by Lekha J Shankar

The Thai-Hollywood film Bitter/Sweet, which was screened at various festivals in America and Europe and won awards but didn’t make the cut for the Bangkok International Film Festival, will have its Asian premiere in the Bollywood capital of Mumbai on Tuesday, November 3.

There for the event will be lead actress Mamee Nakprasit and Bangkok-based Swiss producer Urs Brunner. The film will be screened at the Fun Cinema, followed by a cocktail party at the Sun N Sand hotel, a popular haunt of Bollywood stars.

Producer Brunner admits he was disappointed the film was not selected for the Bangkok International Film Festival, as he would have liked to have held the film’s Bangkok premiere at the festival. But he was happy that film had been selected for the Mumbai Film Festival, which this year was being funded by the mega Reliance Industries and boasts many premiere screenings.

Among the jury are top filmmakers like Paul Schrader, Jafar Panahi and Brilliante Mendoza.

“I think Bollywood films are the ultimate in entertainment, and I’m proud to show my film there,” Brunner says. He’ll be attending with his Thai wife Maleerat Thanaprachoom.

Actress Mamee was excited to make her first trip to India , especially as it was her first visit to any film festival abroad. She hoped to buy a sari, meet many Indian film audiences and if possible even attend a Bollywood dance lesson!

An avowed lover of Bollywood films, Mamee impressively showed some Bollywood dance steps at the opening of the recent Bollywood Film Festival in Bangkok and also in the Superstar TV talent show.

From Mumbai, producer Brunner will fly to Los Angeles for the American Film Market to negotiate the film’s international sales. He hopes to release the film in Bangkok next year.

The other Thai film being screened at the Mumbai festival is Uruphong Raksasad’s Agrarian Utopia, which seems to have become the new darling of the international festival circuit.

Note: Agrarian Utopia is also in competition this week at AsiaticaFilmMediale in Rome.

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