Japan's 'Khan' opens Thai fest


BANGKOK, Thailand -- The fifth annual World Film Festival of Bangkok kicked off Thursday with the $30 million Japanese production, "Genghis Khan: To the Ends of the Earth and Sea," which was released in Japan earlier this year. The film's 69-year-old director, Shinichiro Sawai, was present for the opening ceremony at the recently opened Esplanade Cinema.

The 11-day festival will feature more than 80 films, and for the first time it is being combined with the European Union Film Festival in Thailand, which has taken place for the past 17 years. The festival cost more the $3 million to produce and 20,000 people are expected to attend.

"The combination of the World Film Festival of Bangkok with the EU festival is exciting for those who really appreciate the value of good films," said Victor Silakong, director of the festival.

There will also be a special tribute to the Taiwanese director Sylvia Chang, with six of her movies on display during the festival.

There is also a retrospective on the career of German director Percy Adlon, who will be on hand. His 1987 "Bagdad Cafe," which earned him awards and high accolades, will be shown along with his recent documentary, "Orbela's People."

An honorary "Farewell" award will also be bestowed upon Ingmar Bergman, who died earlier this year.

There will be jury-picked winners at the end of the festival, and the short films in competition will be aired on Thai TV.

The closing film is "Secret" by Hong Kong director Jay Chou, to be screened Nov. 4.