Thai Night AFM 2017 showcases the talent at the heart of the Thai film industry
(7 months ago)
SANTA MONICA, Calif: On Nov. 2, Her Royal Highness Princess Ubolratana Rajakanya Sirivadhana Barnavadi presided over Thai Night AFM 2017 - Thailand Where Films Come Alive, an event of celebration of Thai cinema, held on the occasion of the American Film Market and Conference 2017.
During her speech, HRH Ubolratana Rajakanya stressed the major accomplishments of Thai filmmakers and actors who are breaking through on the international scene, such as Director Nattawut Poonpiriya's exam cheating thriller "BAD GENIUS", which not only broke the 100 million Baht mark (US$ 3 million) at the domestic box office, but ended up becoming one of the most successful Thai films overseas, breaking Thai film earning records in several Asian countries including China. In addition, the film received high praise at international festivals, winning multiple awards, including Best Feature at the New York Asian Film Festival and Best Director at the Fantasia International Film Festival. The film also featured a breakthrough performance from young actress Chutimon Chuengcharoensukying, who won the Screen International Rising Star Asia award. Another highlight of the year was the Pen-ek Ratanaruang's new film "SAMUI SONG", which just premiered at the Venice and Toronto International Film Festivals to critical acclaim.
Also speaking at the event, Vice Minister for Commerce Winichai Chaemchaeng highlighted the strategy of the Ministry of Commerce, Royal Thai Government to capitalize on the talent in the Thai film industry to turn Thailand into the leading regional centre for film production and post-production. The ASEAN region, a community of over 600 million consumers, will become one of the most dynamic entertainment markets in the world, and Thailand is ideally positioned to take a major role in the growth of the regional industry.
Acknowledging that a strong entertainment industry policy needs a 360 degrees approach, both domestic and international growth will be the focus of the Ministry of Commerce. On the international side, the development of the industry will rely on boosting the export of Thai content, as well as attracting foreign productions to shoot in Thailand and foster co-productions.
As part of this plan, a brand new film incentive programme has been launched earlier this year. The new tax rebate program offers up to 20% cash rebate for local production expenditures that exceeds US$1.5 million. The first international film to benefit from the tax rebate initiative is "CHANGELAND", the directorial debut of actor Seth Green, starring himself and Breckin Meyer, and featuring Macaulay Culkin.
This new incentive scheme is poised to further increase the attractiveness of Thailand as a shooting destination. Thailand is already one of the most popular destinations for international productions, due to its state-of-the-art technical facilities, highly experienced crew, beautiful locations and top hospitality services. Last year, the number of foreign films produced in Thailand increased by 15%. Over the same period, China leads with 65. Recent films shot in Thailand include "GOLD" starring Matthew McConaughey, Edgar Ramirez and Bryce Dallas Howard, "ALL I SEE IS YOU" starring Blake Lively and Jason Clarke, "MECHANIC RESURRECTION" starring Jason Statham, "NO ESCAPE" starring Lake Bell and Pierce Brosnan. More recently, Thailand welcomed the production of the William Pitsenbarger biopic "THE LAST FULL MEASURE", starring Sebastian Stan, Samuel L. Jackson, Peter Fonda and Christopher Plummer.
All these accomplishments were at the center of Thai Night AFM 2017, an event attended by several hundred industry professionals and filmmakers eager to foster new ties with the Thai film industry.