LVH exclusive - Thailand builds on movie magic

Thai films have also performed well on the international stage this year

Her Royal Highness Princess Ubolratana Rajakanya Sirivadhana Barnavadi presided over a Thai film Industry Gala Event early this month, held in California as part of the American Film Market — eight days of deal-making, screenings, seminars, networking events and parties that this year drew industry participants from over 70 countries.

Organized by the Department of International Trade Promotion (DITP), Thai Ministry of Commerce, the event celebrated 2012 as another impressive year for Thai Cinema and the Thai Film Industry, which has a projected revenue of more than 2,200 million Baht (approximately USD71 million) from foreign production shoots in the Kingdom, beating its previous record of 2,023 million Baht set in 2008.

A winning combination of desirable locations, skilled Thai crew, many with international experience, plus state-of-the-art facilities and low production costs means Thailand continues to attract a constant flow of international films, a trend further supported by the Thai Industry’s current drive to form international co-productions and partnerships with foreign film companies.

The Thailand Film Office also organized an impressive Inbound Roadshow (familiarisation tour) in Bangkok this month for leading international location managers and select Asian producers.

Participants attending the Roadshow included top location manager, Lori Balton, also president of the Location Managers Guild of America, Kiyoe Noma a senior producer from Japan's Nippon Television, Sonny Singh and Dilip Advani, two well known Bollywood producers, as well as other senior international location managers that have worked on major Hollywood feature film productions such as "The Lone Ranger", "Pirates of the Caribbean", "Coyote Ugly", "The Aviator", "Rain Man", "Kill Bill", "Transformers", "Iron Man 3", "The Dark Knight Rises", "Face/Off" and assorted TV shows.

The participants on the Thai familiarisation trip have also worked with some of the world's top directors, including Tim Burton, Martin Scorsese, Christopher Nolan, Michael Bay, Tom  Hanks, Barry Levinson, Quentin Tarantino and Oliver Stone.

Over the first half of 2012, Thailand hosted a record 433 foreign productions, including the highly anticipated “Only God Forgives”, starring Ryan Gosling, the follow-up to Director Nicolas Winding Refn’s hit movie “Drive” .

Meanwhile, Thai films have also performed well on the international stage this year, building on an impressive run of award-winning productions such as Apichatpong Weerasethakul’s “Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives”, winner of the Palme d’Or in Cannes in 2010, and Pen-Ek Ratanaruang’s “Headshot”, Thailand’s official entry for next year’s Academy Awards.

Thai director Nawapol Thamrongrattanarit’s “36″ claimed top prize in Busan International Film Festival this year and Kantana Group, one of the country's oldest and most innovative entertainment companies, produced Thailand’s first 3D animated feature film, Echo Planet.