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In Trying Times, Local Movie Festival Fights On”

Despite Red Shirt protests, lack of government support, and a diminishing pool of potential
sponsors, one emerging Bangkok-based movie festival is determined to carry on.
The new Bangkok IndieFest (, slated for August 4-8 of this year, was
set into motion as a grass-roots undertaking by Thai and International organizers last August,
when times in Thailand were relatively untroubled.
Since then, hundreds of international and local filmmakers have submitted their work, eager
to screen in Bangkok, Southeast Asia’s movie capital, despite the growing unrest.
“Many of the filmmakers have expressed an interest in attending the festival, even if we are
unable to secure sponsorship for their trip – that’s the level of excitement that we’ve seen so
far”, says IndieFest co-organizer, Jason Rosette, a US national and media producer who has
been living in Southeast Asia since 2004.
Unfortunately, even with the cancellation of many Bangkok-based events due to a rise in
protest activities, and despite the pro-tourism attractiveness of the event, the emerging,
grass-roots Bangkok IndieFest has still encountered challenges in securing outside support.
“We hope that sponsors and the cultural support groups here will be pro-active in lending
their support between now and our slated festival dates”, says co-organizer, Thai national
and filmmaker Phee Chayakul. “Our thinking is that any Bangkok-based event which
promotes a progressive, fun cultural, pro-tourism dimension of Thailand, should be supported
as a priority.”
Chayakul continues: “‘We’re still actively seeking governmental support, collaborators, and
contributors, not just in the form of government grants, but including the loan or donation of
AV gear and venues or other in-kind assistance, components which we still would very much
IndieFest organizers concede that, while a low-budget film festival may run counter to some
local Thai moviegoers’ expectations of a lavish motion picture event, they are seeking to
adhere to a viable sustainability model for the fest’s long term growth, especially after
experiencing current operational challenges in Thailand.
Ultimately, organizers believe Bangkok IndieFest will nonetheless make a positive
contribution to the development of the local motion picture sector.
And more importantly, while many organizations are scaling back their cultural events or
canceling them altogether, Bangkok IndieFest organizers are convinced that any cultural
attraction which can help offset negative international press generated by recent protest
activities can only be beneficial to Thailand in the long run.
Phee Chayakul, co-organizer, Bangkok IndieFest
Jason Rosette, co-organizer, Bangkok IndieFest /
Mobile # 081 617 9240
### End

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