Archer, Bangkok Film Fest join forces

Company will help coordinate financially-troubled event

HONG KONG -- Archer Entertainment Media Communications, a Hong Kong- and Los Angeles-based company, has picked up a contract to co-produce the upcoming Bangkok International Film Festival.

The festival, which has previously been troubled by financial problems, clashes with the local industry and bribery allegations, will host a competitive section for South East Asian films as well as giving Thailand premieres to selected films from the summer's A-list events. It also plans seminars and gala events. This year's edition is set for Sept. 23-30.

Archer, which was a "co-coordinator" of the last month's World Comedy Festival in Thai beach resort Phuket, has interests in VOD, pay-per-view and other Internet distribution activities.

The company headed by Michael Selsman, is also preparing a 10-picture slate of movies to be produced over the next six years "utilizing tax treaties."

First up is "Kings of the Seas," a comedy drama featuring the clash between 15th century English pirate "Blackbeard" and Chinese Admiral Zheng He over territory in South America. The picture is to be made by Thailand's Buzz Entertainment using locations in the west of Thailand's Andaman Sea.

The Tourism Authority of Thailand previously contracted operation of the event to Festival Management, a U.S. company controlled by Gerald and Patricia Green.

The Greens are now facing 21 charges of corruption under the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, after it was alleged that they bribed the TAT governor to secure the deal. In March this year the Attorney General added allegations of obstruction of justice to the charge sheet. Trial in a California District Court is set to begin Aug. 4. The Greens deny all charges.
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