Thursday, February 28, 2013
Here's a video recap from the Chop Shots Documentary Film Festival S.E. Asia held last December in Jakarta, Indonesia. At 1 minute, 52 seconds there are some good shots of the SEA Movie Theater Project exhibit that accompanied the festival.
Thursday, February 21, 2013
The 1997 Asian Financial Crisis was bad for Thailand's independent movie theaters. From the moment of impact, followed by months of downward spiral, scores of already-struggling family movie theaters closed their doors as crowds and access to credit grew scarce. The crisis came to a head because of unregulated speculation in the Thai currency market. When that speculation bubble burst, the financial system collapsed, leaving countless theater operators, with their costly overhead and dwindling attendance, out in the cold. (Of course, the impact went well beyond just theater operators, but for our interests here at the SEA Movie Theater Project, we'll stop at their lament.)
Featured below is the Peth Kasem Theater, a casualty of the '97 crisis located in the Bangkok satellite city of Nakorn Pathom. Like most small Thai cities, many of Nakorn Pathom's locally owned and operated movie theaters closed after the '97 meltdown. Today the structure lives on as a dingy parking garage in a narrow alley, its former luster a thing of the past.
The Peth Kasem Theater once had a seating capacity of 1,200.
What was once the concessions area.
Poster of former starlet Jarunee found in upper level.
Friday, February 15, 2013
At the end of February, a full year will have passed since my last foray into movie theater documentation. This year long hiatus, following 4 years of more or less steady work, has indeed made the heart grow fonder. Hopefully something will give at some point down the road, and the chance to explore the towns and cities of Southeast Asia will arise. Hopefully, then, there will still be a few old theaters to chronicle. In the past year, the rate of attrition for stand-alone movie theaters in Southeast Asia has been extremely high.
In the meantime, the photographic output of this project continues to show its wings. Just in time to celebrate the one year anniversary of my last documented theater, an new exhibition will be unveiled.
The 3rd annual Vientianale International Film Festival, in Vientiane, Laos will feature as a side event a 10-image set of SEA Movie Theater Project photos. The images will remain on display at the I:Cat Gallery for two weeks after the end of the film fest, which will run from February 26th to March 2nd.
If you're in the neighborhood stop by and enjoy some free movies and photos.