Saturday, November 28, 2009

IFFI '09: How about a little help from India?

Veteran filmmakers Nonzee Nimibutr and Yongyoot Thongkongtoon are heading the Thai delegation at the International Film Festival of India, where they were full of praise for the Indian film industry and support its audiences give it, but were down on the prospects for their own country's cinema.

Talking to the press, Yongyoot Thongkongtoon says:

"It is just that we don't make films which the audiences will like. The Hollywood movie 2012 is one of the top grossers in Thailand in just five days of its release," he said adding that Thai filmmakers have a long way to go before it achieves the box office numbers like that of Hollywood movies.

Yongyoot is at IFFI in support of his latest feature, the romantic comedy-drama Best of Times, which is Thailand's submission to the Academy Awards..

Also at IFFI is Nonzee Nimibutr, subject of a piece in The Hindu by Lekha Shankar. He has five films in a retrospective, ranging from 1997's Dang Bireley's and Young Gangsters to last year's Queens of Langkasuka. He laments the lack of support for filmmakers from the Thai government.

"Almost all films produced in Thailand have financial support from Korea, Japan and other countries. Recession has hurt the local industry. Conflicts in the government also cast a shadow on the return of investments. Besides, severe competition from Hollywood and lack of audiences for local cinema are also some of the causes of the downslide."

Yongyoot voiced optimism:

"The government doesn’t do as much as we expect them too, but with a change in film production we will see change in Thailand. We have learnt a lot being a part of this festival, hopefully we will carry it over to Thailand.

According the Navhind Times, Nonzee said he was open to "collaborating with an Indian film team to expand his audience", while Yongyoot asserted that India films are popular in Thailand, even though they aren't shown as regularly in cinemas as they used to be. Putting on his hat as artistic director of the Bangkok International Film Festival, he promised to include more Indian films in next year's BKKIFF line-up.

Here's more from Nonzee, Yongyoot and actress May Pathawarin Timkul in The Times of India.

1 comment:

  1. I find it a shame that Thai cinema doesn't feel it can compete again Hollywood product.... It's a perception that I, as a foreign film fan, find troubling....

    Personally, I've always felt that Thai films had their own "feel" that was well worth my time and effort to seek out. I'd hate to see them lose that uniqueness by moving too closely towards a "Hollywood" formula for filmaking.

    Still... additional imput and financing from other sources could help invigorate new productions so long as the Thai filmakers keep as much creative control over the end results as is possible. Seeing some "crossover" in style or content is not necessarily a problem.... I think, for example, the HK film industry showed the way to go in this respect as they took ideas they liked over the years, but kept a very "chinese" stamp on the films they made... so much so that the Western filmakers they were inspired by have in turn adopted many of the stylistic ideas that the chinese have made work so well for themselves.

    In the end... if such film deals help improve the visibility and overall availability of Thai films here in North America, I'm tenatively for it.....


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