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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