Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Culture Ministry film funds doled out, Naresuan 3 gets half

Playing catch-up after a weekend away from Thailand and no time to properly blog.

Saturday's Bangkok Post had a doozy of a column by Kong Rithdee, about the 200 million baht from the Ministry of Culture to support moving images under the Thai government's Thai Khem Kaeng (ไทย เข้มแข็ง, Strong Thailand) "creative economy" campaign.

Here's how the 200 million will be doled out:

This week the Ministry of Culture (which is a little dizzy on what is cult and what is culture) announced that it would give 100 million baht to the production of Legend of King Naresuan 3. The ministry, through its Office of Contemporary Art and Culture, has 200 million baht to give away (with some conditions) to filmmakers under the Creative Economy package. Roughly 300 projects were submitted for consideration - including my project on a Muslim subject - and around 50 have been awarded with the money.

The debate will continue on whether the 50 projects are worthy of promoting the so-called Creative Economy. That's constructive and acceptable. But what is unacceptable is the fact that one movie, King Naresuan 3, has been allocated 50% of the entire budget. The only question is why? No film is that important, especially when it is a third sequel of a never-ending story made by an established director, MC Chatrichalerm Yukol. One movie gets half of the funding, while 299 other applicants - a large number of them students and small-time filmmakers who do not seek profit - had to clamour like beggars to get what looks like the leftovers from a lavish dinner table.

Go read the rest if you haven't already.

Previously, the Culture Ministry and the Abhisit government had pledged to back the Naresuan 3 (ตำนาน สมเด็จนเรศวรมหาราช 3) and 4 sequels. Never mind that the movies don't even have firm release dates, other than being penciled in for this August and September but have been appearing on the film calendar each year for the past two years.

I'm hearing of more developments about the hot-potato issue of the Culture Ministry's money and hopefully more will come out about it in the coming days.

(Thanks @fishmyman!)

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