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Hollywood to descend on 2003 Bangkok International Film Festival in January

Search ASIA Travel Tips .com 20 December 2002

Recognizing a global forum that continues to grow in stature and the increasing consumption of American motion pictures throughout the Asian continent, the Hollywood entertainment industry is expected to clutter the streets of Bangkok during the final five days of the upcoming Bangkok International Film Festival, to be held from January 10-21, when it will present its first annual Golden Kinnaree Awards.

The dynamic city of Bangkok will serve as the backdrop of an equally energetic festival highlighting the very best in global filmmaking under the theme “Masters to Present,” which will bring motion picture luminaries from across the globe together, while also featuring cultural events, conferences, industry workshops and lectures.

The first annual Golden Kinnaree competition will open on Friday, January 17 with the Asian premiere of Frida. The film chronicles the life of Mexican artist Frida Kahlo who lived a bold and uncompromising life as a political, artistic and sexual revolutionary. Directed by critically acclaimed filmmaker Julie Taymor (Titus) the film stars Salma Hayek, Alfred Molina, Antonio Banderas, Ashley Judd, Edward Norton and Geoffrey Rush.

The other films that will compete in the Golden Kinnaree Awards include:

A Tale of a Naughty Girl (India) – directed by Buddhadeb Dasgupta, starring Tapas Pal and Ramgopal Bajaj

Dirty Deeds (Australia) – directed by David Ceasar and starring Bryan Brown, Barry Ryan, Toni Collette and John Goodman

Dolls (Japan) – directed by Takeshi Kitano and starring Miho Kanno and Hidetoshi Nishijima

Fureur (France) – directed by Karim Dridi and starring Samuel Le Bihan, Yu Nan and Samart Payakarun, Yann Tregout

Small Voices (Philippines) – directed by Gil M. Portes, starring Dexter Dorta, Alessandra de Rossi, Gina Alajar and Amy Austria

Quiet American (USA) – directed by Phillip Noyce, starring Michael Caine and Brendan Fraser

Suplement (Poland) – directed by Krzysztof Zanussi, starring Pawel Okraska and Monika Krzywkonska

The Man Without a Past (Finland) – directed by Aki Kaurismaki, starring Markku Peltola, Kati Outinen, Juhani Niemela and Annikki Tahti

Kedma (Israel) directed by Amos Gitari, starring Andrei Kashkar, Helena Yaralova and Yusuf Abu-Warda

Talk to Her (Spain) – directed by Pedro Almodovar, starring Rosario Flores, Javier Camara, Dario Grandinetti and Leonor Watling

Evelyn (USA) – directed by Bruce Beresford, starring Pierce Brosnan and Julianna Margulies (in the process of final confirmation)

“The goal of this festival is to present the cinematic landscape of major world films to Asia, and this year’s line-up is a clear indication that we will showcase some of the finest the world has to offer,” said Patrick de Bokay, worldwide Executive Director of the festival. “We anticipate that the Golden Kinnaree Competition will become to Asia the equivalent of Cannes’ Palme d’Or in Europe.”

An esteemed international jury will screen twelve films and bestow five awards including Best Director, Best Screenplay, Best Actor, Best Actress and Best Film (“The Golden Kinnaree”) during the festival’s five-day Golden Kinnaree Competition. Based on an ancient and revered Thai mythological figure, the Golden Kinnaree Award (designed by renowned Thai artist Asst. Prof. Preecha Thaothong, Dean of the Faculty of Painting, Sculpture and Graphic Arts of Silpakorn University) is destined to become the most highly regarded prize for filmmaking in Southeast Asia. The first-year jury members include Andy Vajna, producer (Terminator 3, Evita, Rambo, Fatal Attraction, Total Recall, Nixon); Alain Jalladeau from Trois Continent Film Festival; Buzz Feitshans, producer (Total Recall, Die Hard: With a Vengeance, Conan the Barbarian); Ken Nolan, screenwriter (Black Hawk Down); Mohan Agashe, Indian Film Institute; and Prawit Taeng-Aksorn, Thai film critic.

Other celebrities expected to attend the festival as special guests include Michelle Yeoh (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, The Touch), Rick Yune (The Fast and the Furious, Die Another Day), Kelly Hu (X-Men 2, Cradle 2 the Grave, The Scorpion King), Bai Ling (Paris, My Baby’s Mama) Bruce Beresford (director of Evelyn and the Academy Award-winning film Driving Miss Daisy), Emmanuelle Seigner (Body Snatch), David Giler (producer of the Alien films) and Raffaella de Laurentis (producer Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story, Dragonheart, Daylight and Backdraft). A special tribute to French director Agnes Varda (Cleo de 5 a 7, Les Cents et une Nuits, Sans Toit Ni Loi, Le Bonheur) will also be held during the festival. 

Also scheduled as major highlights of the event are Martin Scorsese's long awaited epic Gangs of New York, starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Cameron Diaz and Daniel Day-Lewis and; Femme Fatale of Brian de Palma.

Prior to the start of the Golden Kinnaree Competition, the festival will begin on January 10 with the opening of four films: 8 Woman, 8˝, Blue Gate Crossing, and a Thai film TBD. Following the opening, the first seven days of the festival will also include Anima 2003, a screening and competition of animated films, the Bangkok Short Film Festival and a tribute to French director Agnes Varda (Cleo de 5 a 7, Les Cents et une Nuits, Sans Toit Ni Loi, Le Bonheur). Other movies to be featured with Gala screenings will include (The Guru, Chihwaseon, Nowhere, Woman’s Prison, Red Siren and Body Snatch).

On January 20, the festival will host a celebrity golf tournament, an exclusive and lavish event designed for its VIP guests. Golfers will enjoy the finest golf experience in all of Thailand at the Rajpruek Club, a club boasting an international standard 18-holes. Joining Thai dignitaries on the golf course will be Golden Globe nominated actor Malcolm McDowell (Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange, Caligula, Star Trek: Generations, I Spy), popular character actor John O’Hurley (best known as J. Peterman on Seinfeld) and other stars.

The festival will be closed on January 21 with the presentation of the Kinnaree Awards and the screening of a Thai film, “Ong-Bark”, a celebration of Thai martial arts, which is expected to be one of next year’s local blockbusters.

“We are very excited to have so many Hollywood notables committed to attending this year’s festival at this early stage,” said Mrs. Juthamas Siriwan, Governor of the Tourism Authority of Thailand and President of the Festival. “With so many events and activities taking place, we understand that it is a busy time of year for everyone, but we expect to have even more people and more stars committing to visit us during the festival at the beginning of the New Year.”

In addition to the films being screened, a highlight of the festival will be the gala dinner on January 18. The event will present an evening of music, exquisite cuisine and traditional Thai entertainment. Academy Award-winning composer Maurice Jarre (Lawrence of Arabia, Doctor Zhivago, A Passage to India, Witness, Ghost) will conduct the Bangkok Symphony Orchestra in a concert of film scores following the festival’s theme “Masters to Present.”

The Muay Thai Boxing Tournament, to be held on January 19, is another exciting activity offered to the public. The legendary Muay Thai Champion Samart Payakarun will be hosting the tournament which also includes stunt packages featuring images of next year’s blockbusters in action genre. The film Fureur in which Mr. Payakarun stars will also have its world premiere in Bangkok.

Two unique workshops will also be held at this year’s fete. The first on January 18 is a Digital Cinema Workshop exploring how digital cinema enhances and impacts the creative process. Moderated by Scott Ross, Chairman and CEO of Digital Domain, the workshop will also discuss the ins-and outs of digital distribution and feature exclusive first-look clips of James Cameron’s 3D IMAX film Ghosts of the Abyss, a documentary that uses new underwater digital technology to capture never-before-seen images inside the sunken Titanic. Other participants confirmed on the panel include Susan O’Leary from Fox Searchlab and Ellen Eliasoph from Warner Bros.

The second workshop on January 20 is on Asian Film Financing, highlighting the current state of Asian financing, showcasing the U.S. and European financing processes and suggesting methods to improve opportunities. Additional topics will include preliminary budgets, script break down, industry standard software, bank financing, cash-flow availability, bond insurance, pre-sale mechanisms, soft money issues, distribution deals and tax structured and government subsidy deals.

Moderated by Roy Salter from Houlihan Lokey Howard and Zukin, the panel includes Lewis Horwitz from The Lewis Horwitz Organization; Leon Morgan from Davenport Lyons; Fred Milstein from CineFinance; Jorge Gallegos from American Film Services; Chiong Kit Phoon from Golden Harvest Entertainment; Jerome Bliah from International Film Distribution Consultants; and Yoshikiyo Arai, President of Pioneer Ldc-Japan, Peter Chan from Applause Pictures, and Mark Yoon from CJ Entertainment.

The 2003 Bangkok International Film Festival, to be held January 10-21, has established itself as the major marketing, media and entertainment platform in Southeast Asia. The festival showcases the best films from around the world while also featuring cultural events, conferences, industry workshops and lectures.

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