Bangkok Film Market over; attendance down

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BANGKOK, Thailand -- The Bangkok Film Market wrapped Wednesday after three lackluster days that witnessed a downturn in attendance and dealmaking amid the tense political climate that has existed since a September military coup.

About 800 preregistered market guests, including 160 from overseas, viewed the wares of more than 60 companies as the Thai capital endured ongoing protests of the coup, whcih resulted in slashed budgets at sister event the Bangkok International Film Festival.

Though market organizers said Film Market attendance was greater than 800, they said they could not offer an exact count because badges had run out.

But festival director Victor Silakong saw a silver lining in the slower event, which still attracted nearly 10,000 participants through the first half of the festival, which ends Sunday.

"There's less problems and less chaos," Silakong said. "There are not as many fraudulent stars and journalists to have to deal with."

At the market, Thai film heavyweights Sahamongkol Film and Five Star Production closed no deals while MonoFilm said its "The Life of Buddha" cartoon drew lots of interest from India. A MonoFilm representative said the company will hold off selling the rights to the film, set for release in Thailand in December.

The Weinstein Co.'s chief Asia representative, Hong Kong-based Bey Logan, was among the buyers at the show as was Steven Gorel, acquisitions director for Los Angeles-based Taurus Entertainment ("Day of the Dead").

Gorel said that Taurus reached a verbal agreement to buy U.S. rights for "Prayer of Peace," a documentary about the oppression of Myanmar's Karen tribe, and would be selling the film at the upcoming Palm Springs Festival of Short Films.

In the horror genre, production company Right Beyond sold 10 titles to distribution companies in Taiwan, Singapore, Indonesia and Malaysia, a company representative said.

The festival will award its Golden Kinnaree statuettes to the best international, regional and short films on July 28.
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