'Import/Export' biz healthy at Bangkok fest

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BANGKOK, Thailand -- The Austrian drama "Import/Export," directed by Ulrich Seidl, was voted best film by an international jury at the fifth annual World Film Festival of Bangkok. The film was nominated for a Palme D'or at this year's Festival de Cannes.

Festival director Victor Silakong said the jury felt that "Import/Export" offered a "brave, uncomfortable look and unspoiled access to reality, which forces spectators to confront their own lives in the successful capitalist-driven world."

More than 80 films unspooled during the festival at the recently opened state-of-the-art Esplanade Cineplex. Compared to the difficulties that beset the Bangkok International Film Festival, which took place in July, this festival appeared to go swimmingly, with theaters crowded and not many changes to the program (HR 7/6).

This year, for the first time, the World Film Festival was combined with the 17th annual European Union Film Festival in Thailand and, according to Silakong, the combined festivals reached the goal of attracting 20,000 attendees.

The best director award went to Turkish director Semih Kaplanoglu for his film, "Egg," while the artistic achievement nod went to U.S. release "Phantom Love," directed by Nina Menkes.

Special jury prizes went to the Taiwanese film, "Help Me Eros," directed by Kang-sheng Lee, and to Israeli title "The Band's Visit," directed by Eran Kolirin.
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