'Penguin' to open first BKK anime fest

New animation gathering overlaps BKK Int'l Film Festival

HONG KONG -- Franco-Japanese cartoon "Yona Yona Penguin" has been set as the opening film of the inaugural running of the Bangkok International Animation Film Festival (Sept. 25-30).

The event is organized by Thailand's Information and Communications Ministry with support from the Software Industry Promotion Agency and the Thai Animation and Computer Graphics Association. It overlaps with the Bangkok Int'l Film Festival (Sept. 24-30), which is backed by the Tourist Authority of Thailand. The two share several of the same venues including the Paragon Cineplex, the SF World Cinema and the Chatrium Suites hotel.

The animation festival, which closes with Hayao Miyazaki's "Ponyo on the Cliff by the Sea," will screen some 40 films, with competitions for feature and short movies. Other feature titles include Australian claymation "Mary and Max," Annecy prize-winner "Coraline," "The Magic Aster" by China's Yao Guanghua and "The Secret of Kells," a European co-production adapted from the Irish "Book of Kells." "Yona" will receive its world premiere on Saturday out of competition at the Venice festival.

Information and Communications minister Ranongruk Suwanchawee said that the new event will help promote Thailand's "creative economy" domestically and abroad. She said that it would also promote Thailand as a "movie location," build the country's involvement in co-productions and help Thailand's computer graphics and animation businesses to reach the level of those in France and South Korea.

The new festival follows a week after the Thailand Entertainment Expo (September 16-18), which is organized by the Department of Export Promotion and will also be held at the Paragon.
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