Following on from our coverage of the London Film Festival last November, Eat My Brains are going global this month with an exclusive look at the Bangkok International Film Festival taking place in Thailand from 17th – 27th February.
Since it was launched in 2003, BKKIFF has become one of the most important, high-profile film festivals and film markets in Asia. BKKIFF accomplishes this by bringing together the best and the brightest in global cinema to Bangkok, Thailand, the undisputed crossroads of Asia. With a line up of unparalleled variety and quality thanks to an ever-growing roster of world-class films, numbering over 150 films alone in 2005, BKKIFF has garnered widespread recognition and respect throughout the industry.
Soulmining is currently out on Bangkok, blagging his way into as many booze-fuelled parties as he can, whilst sampling every genre film the festival has to offer on our behalf. Here's his report, along with some great photos from the Opening Gala at the BKKIFF.
Welcome to BKKIFF
My flight to Bangkok on Thursday got cancelled but I managed to get on another airline and eventually arrived in the city around 6:30pm, giving me just enough time to register at the BKKIFF HQ over at the Siam Paragon. Disorganised chaos awaited me... but I got my Press pass, that's the important thing!
Invisible Waves (4 stars) was the opening night film on Friday which I'd been told was an invite only affair, but after making some inquiries I managed to get into a special press screening in the afternoon. Sorted! The added bonus of catching the press screening was that I also caught a briefing about the Opening Gala, so I discovered we had access to the arrivals on the red carpet from 6pm onwards...
The Red Carpet
The invited guests and celebrities were escorted along the red carpet to the venue stopping for photos and interviews with the local media along the way. Needless to say I didn't know who the majority of the Thai guests were but still...
(Update - the lady immediately below on the left is Supaksorn Chaimongkol from Dangerous Flowers and the two gentlemen in the third photo are The Tin Mine's lead actor Pijaya Vachajitpan and director Jira Maligool).
The Invisible Waves party were amongst the early arrivals, with director Pen-ek Ratanaruang leading the way alongside actors Tadanobu Asano and Toon Hiranyasup with cinematographer Christopher Doyle and screenwriter Prabda Yoon.
Tadanobu Asano & Pen-ek Ratanaruang arrive
Pen-ek Ratanaruang, Christopher Doyle & Tadanobu Asano
The Gala Reception
Once most of the guests had arrived we were able to go up to the Gala reception for the opening ceremony and speeches.
The Invisible Waves team
Pen-ek Ratanaruang being interviewed for local TV
Whilst some guests disappeared for the film screening, others just hung around for the reception. It was a very informal affair and I was free to mingle - and take advantage of the free bar - as I liked...
Terry Gilliam & Fred Schepisi
And of course I had to take the opportunity to chat to a couple of pretty ladies including Napakpapah Nakprasit, the lead actress from Maebia, Butterfly Man and 3 Friends and Siraphan Wattanajinda, the lead actress from Dear Dakanda.
Me & Napakpapah Nakprasit
Siraphan Wattanajinda & me
The After Show Party
I bumped into Joe Cummings, the Lonely Planet author, who happens to be good friends of Rudi & Albert up in Chiang Mai, so I got chatting to him for a long while and he tipped me off about the after show party taking place at the Bed Supper Club on Sukhumvit Soi 11.
The Bed Supper Club
I wasn't sure if it was another 'invite only' event but thought I may as well try and blag my way in anyway... and one quick flash of my Press pass quickly did the business!
Relaxing inside the Bed Supper Club
I got myself a beer and headed up to the balcony level in the chill-out area for a while. The club is split into two halves, with a dancefloor on the right hand side and a chill-out room on the left hand side - with two levels of beds lining each side and a bar area in the middle. Pretty cool!
Tadanobu Asano at the Bed Supper Club
It soon filled up with guests so I took the opportunity to wander around and managed to grab chats with Rufus Sewell, Tadanobu Asano and Pen-ek Ratanaruang before stumbling back to my hotel at around 1am.