With no films scheduled for my final day of the festival (the screening of The World's Fastest Indian had already sold out) I began Sunday morning over at the sumptuous Conrad Hotel for a Thai directors panel moderated by Kong Rithdee, the Bangkok Post film critic.
The three directors in attendance to talk about their current projects and Thai cinema in general were Ekachai Uekrongtham (Beautiful Boxer), Leo Kittikorn (Ahimsa: Stop To Run) and Yongyoot Thongkongtoon (The Iron Ladies).
Yongyoot talked about his upcoming romantic comedy Metrosexuals, whilst Leo discussed his experience working as 2nd director on King Naresuan, the biggest production in Thailand which has been filming for two years and is still not finished! Meanwhile Ekachai is in pre-production on a horror film entitled The Coffin which should begin shooting in June. It's due to a feature local, Japanese and Chinese cast and - perhaps thinking of the international market - the dialogue will be predominantly in English:
"It's a supernatural thriller inspired by a ritual in Thailand: to get rid of bad luck, extend your lifespan or meet someone who has passed away you sleep in a coffin. It's a very controversial ritual which is gaining popularity. Last year more than 10,000 people in the North East of Thailand went to a ceremony where they could lie in a coffin and be blessed by the monks. Yes, it is a ghost film, there will be quite a number of them, but it won't be a slasher film... it's more like The Sixth Sense. I pick themes I like to address and I wanted to try and deal with issues surrounding death. My father died two years ago and I had a problem dealing with that, so I used that as my creative springboard."
After watching a number of trailers for their respective films the discussion then moved on to the state of the Thai movie industry today and a lively debate on the pros and cons of the BKKIFF - and in particular the disregard for the local audience in that nearly all films screened in competition have had no Thai subtitles, and the poor communication between the festival organisers and local filmmakers. These are just two issues which we all hope will be addressed in time for next year's event.
BKKIFF Closing Ceremony
I'd got chatting to an Aussie actor called Adam at the panel so when that event finished we headed over to the Siam Paragon together and spent much of the afternoon sat in the Jameson's bar. The Closing Gala began at 6pm with guests arriving along the red carpet, but it was a much less lavish affair than the Opening Gala and it seemed to be mainly industry and festival delegates rather than lots of celebrities - although I did spot Willem Dafoe, Roger Donaldson and the ubiquotous Rufus Sewell over the course of the evening.
Tracie Thoms & Wilson Jermaine Heredia
The closing night film was Rent, directed by Christopher Columbus (which I neglected to see) and a couple of the film's stars, Wilson Jermaine Heredia and Tracie Thoms, were present to talk about the production - though I was sad to note the non-appearance of Rosario Dawson who'd also been mooted to attend.
Clare & me
After the closing ceremony and speeches Clare and I hung around the reception taking advantage of the free bar until things finally started winding down at around 9pm. Much to our dismay there was no after-show party (or so we'd been told) so instead we headed off to Penny Black on Soi Cowboy and spent the remainder of the evening continuing our drinking and playing a few games of pool in there.
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