Thursday, November 14, 2013

No love for To Singapore, with Love at World Film Festival of Bangkok

Lack of "necessary permissions" are being cited as the official reason for the 11th World Film Festival of Bangkok dropping To Singapore, with Love from its program.

The politically sensitive documentary by Singaporean filmmaker Tan Pin Pin interviews Singaporean exiles, some who haven't been back to their country in 50 years.

One of the exiles was staying in Thailand, but the film shoot wasn't cleared beforehand with the Thailand Film Board.

Here's the official statement from the festival website:

We regret that To Singapore, with Love by Tan Pin Pin has been withdrawn from the 11th World Film Festival of Bangkok. The reason we have been given is that the film was not submitted to the Thai Film Board prior to shooting on location in Thailand. Films selected by us have been similarly withdrawn in previous years. We are deeply sorry for this and thank you for your understanding. – Kriengsak Silakong, Festival Director

Tan Pin Pin issued a response on the film's Facebook page:

We are regretful that the World Film Festival of Bangkok has decided to withdraw To Singapore, with Love from the Festival. It was an oversight on our part not to have gotten the necessary permissions from Thai Film Board to shoot in Thailand. We were informed only the day before that one of the exiles had passed away and so had to travel to Betong immediately for the funeral. We hope to make the necessary applications and eventually screen in Thailand. - Tan Pin Pin, director and producer, To Singapore, with Love

To Singapore, with Love premiered earlier this year in the Wide Angle documentary competition at the Busan International Film Festival.

I suppose it seems like every other year or so the World Film Festival of Bangkok runs afoul of Thai bureaucrats over one film or another, but I guess the last incident I remember was in 2009, when Thunska Pansittivorakul's This Area Is Under Quarantine was banned.

Featuring many Thai highlights that are not banned, the 11th World Film Festival of Bangkok runs from November 16 to 24 at SF World Cinema at CentralWorld.

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