Bangkok film fest on for September

Directors taking creative control for 6th annual event

BANGKOK -- The sixth annual Bangkok International Film Festival will be held in September, its organizers, the Federation of National Film Associations of Thailand, said Tuesday.

Until now, it was not clear whether the festival, long mired in controversy, would continue after the previous organizer, the Tourism Authority of Thailand, announced it might not be able to maintain its lead role.

September's edition will see the Thai Film Directors Assn. take charge of the artistic direction while TAT will continue to offer some financial support along with other public and private backing.

Yongyoot Thongkongtoon, president of the directors association, said the festival will host an international jury but would not reveal any jurors' names.

From 2003-06, the festival, known as the BKKIFF, was run by the Los Angeles-based Film Festival Management, whose heads, Gerald and Patricia Green, recently were indicted on bribery charges in the U.S. The duo is accused of funneling $1.7 million in kickbacks to the former head of the TAT, Juthamas Siriwan.

In November 2006, the tourist authority took over the festival and ran last year's edition in July.

The TAT's decision to assume responsibility for the festival came after complaints about a perceived lack of films with Thai subtitles surfaced in the local media. The festival also had been criticized for spending taxpayers' money to fly in Western film industry luminaries.