Headline: International film festival to go ahead in July

This year's Bangkok International Film Festival will go ahead in July, organisers said yesterday, dispelling rumours it had been cancelled.
The 10-day festival would open at SF CentralWorld Plaza on July 19.

However the budget had been cut to only 60 million baht, well down on last year's 180 million baht budget.

Organisers hope to showcase about 100 titles, with a team of Thai programmers responsible for film selection.

Festival director Chattan Kunjara na Ayudhya said this year's festival would be geared more towards Asian films with organisers hoping to attract a larger Thai audience than the festival had in previous years
Source: Bangkok Post: Friday February 23, 2007

Headline: Foreign films can get nod in 3 days

Speedy processing intended to encourage producers to shoot more movies here

Foreign film producers are guaranteed a three-day approval period if their films to be shot in Thailand deal with non-sensitive issues, according to Tourism and Sports Minister Suvit Yodmani.

Suvit yesterday said the ministry would order the Fine Arts Department, the Forestry Department and other related bodies to grant speedy permission in order to attract more foreign films.

The Fine Arts Department and Forestry Department control many venues popular with film-makers and should be able to approve requests themselves, Suvit said.

He said department directors could grant approval to avoid the lengthier process of consulting a minister. However, permission would only be given for non-sensitive movies. "If the film is not bothering our natural sites, culture, heritage or community, we will let them proceed," said Suvit.
The Thailand Film Office will help film-makers to obtain visas and work permits and to bring in equipment from abroad.

Foreign producers have been asking the government to reduce the tax on imported equipment and to provide more benefits.

In 2006, there were 14 foreign films shot in Thailand. One still under production is "Big Hit in Bangkok", a remake of "Bangkok Dangerous" by Hong Kong twins Oxide and Danny Pang. The movie features Hollywood star Nicolas Cage and well-known Thai actors Chakrit Yamnam and Dom Haetrakoon, with an estimated production cost of Bt220 million.

Hong Kong producers have returned to Thailand after a few years of decline because of alternative locations in China.

Two films were recently completed. One is "Secret Action", directed by Yuan Sai Sang and featuring Hong Kong superstars Cheng Yee Kim, Fu Lek and Fung Stephen Gin. Another is "Protg", starring Andy Lau and filmed partly in Chiang Rai.

Although these films were each made on small budgets of Bt3 million, there was a benefit to local companies working with the Hong Kong producers.

Indian producers are increasingly looking to Thailand to shoot music videos featuring panoramic views on beautiful beaches and islands such as Koh Poda, Maya Beach and the Phi Phi islands in Krabi province.
The estimated production cost for each Indian film is about Bt5 million.
The French government has also sponsored a Bt15-million film named "Cargo". The film was shot in cargo boats along the Chao Phya River and Koh Sichung in Chon Buri province.

Foreign film production in Thailand this year will take place in Bangkok, Krabi, Phang Nga, Phuket, Kanchanaburi, Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Ratchaburi and Prachuap Khiri Khan.

The estimated cost of all productions amounts to more than Bt500 million.
Suchat Sritama
Source: The Nation: Fri, February 23, 2007

Production Stills: Kolson Snack

Production Still of Kolson Snack, "Snacker Brand" corn ships shot in Thailand. Kolson is the leading in Snack & Pasta product in Pakistan. Check out the clip of the ad below.

Headline: Film approvals to speed up with one-stop shop

Business >> Monday February 12, 2007

Foreign producers will spend less time getting permission to shoot films in Thailand after a one-stop service office opens some time in the next two months.

It would take one day to approve film shoots for commercials, music videos and TV shows, instead of several days to weeks currently according to Tourism and Sports Minister Suvit Yodmani.

For feature films and documentaries, which require script approval, the process would take only two weeks, he said.

The cabinet last month approved the establishment of a "one-stop service" office for international film producers working in Thailand. It hopes the office will promote investments in film production and bring in more foreign revenue.

The office, located at the Office of Tourism Development, will be run by representatives from various agencies, including the Culture Ministry, the Fine Arts Department, the Natural Resources and Environment Ministry and the Labour Ministry. Mr Suvit said he would hold talks with the agencies later this month and ask them to provide staff with full authority to make approvals.

Wanasiri Morakul, director of the Thailand Film Office, said it was not necessary to take a long time to approve music videos or commercials, as most could be produced in studios. But feature films are different as most use outdoor locations.

Activists claim that during the shooting of The Beach, in 2000 on Koh Phi Phi, the national park was damaged. The filmmaker has denied the claims.

Ms Wanasiri said revenue from foreign film production in Thailand had come mainly from advertising, music videos, documentaries and television shows. Many of them used local post-production houses.

Long feature-film shoots have been more scarce, with only two to three per year. Recently, two high-profile productions have used Thailand: Rambo IV starring Sylvester Stallone, and American Gangster starring Denzel Washington.

The statistics show revenue from foreign film shoots in 2006 was nearly two billion baht, compared with only 400 million in 1998. The amount of productions also increased to 490, from 290 in 1998.

She said the Tourism Authority of Thailand, together with the Export Promotion Department and the Board of Investment, would introduce the new one-stop service for US producers during a trade and investment promotional trip in April.

Source: http://www.bangkokpost.com/Business/12Feb2007_biz32.php

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