Monday, January 4, 2016

Coming soon: Burma Theater Survey - Phase III

I hate to sound alarmist, but the truth is that those darling stand-alone movie theaters over in Burma are being wiped out fast! Just a few years ago, during my first two surveys of the then "hermit nation," there were well over 100 still in operation nationwide. Since then many dozens have closed and still more torn down. As the former hermit nation comes out of its shell to the call of free market capitalism, those once-iconic theaters will fall faster than a house of cards in a hurricane. Unfortunate as that is, it's simply the way things work.

Yesterday I put in an order for the publication of my final 15 photo portfolios of stand-alone movie theaters in Thailand. Two are already reserved, leaving 13 to put on the market. At $300 dollars a piece, these are not cheap items. Believe me I know. I earn the majority of my income from moving furniture and $300 is a good bit more than I generally earn in a day.

That said, all the proceeds from portfolio sales will be invested in a final research trip to Burma to make a one-of-a-kind photographic record of a threatened architectural type in their final days. This research trip, moreover, will help ensure that at least a few are given a fighting chance at being preserved. Regrettably, sales of this portfolio will not be going to directly fund the purchase or renovation of any of those old Burmese theaters. Nor will I be doing any hands on renovations myself. But make no mistake, each and every time that a photo of these buildings is publicized, every set of eyes that gets a look them and is made aware of their quiet existence, builds value in them and makes preservation all the more feasible. That's what I aim to do.

So much of Burma's ageing architecture is in need of protection. Stand-alone movie theaters all the more so, as they tend to be the most at-risk structures once sweeping redevelopment plans and capital inflow descend upon a country. This project is dedicated to helping ensure the survival of at least one stand-alone theater in every major metropolitan area of Southeast Asia. The ones in Burma are in dire need.

So get yourself a great piece of art in the form of an extremely limited edition "The Movie Theaters of Thailand" photo portfolio, and contribute to the preservation of Burma's historic stand-alones at the same time. It's a win-win for all.

See further details and payment options below.

"The Movie Theaters of Thailand"  photo portfolio is limited to 35 handcrafted sets which are available for $300US each (shipping and handling included). Every set comes in a handmade box with a hinged flip top. The front cover features gold leaf inlaid text, along with the Southeast Asia Movie Theater Project banner photo. Inside are 20 images (that works out to less than $15 dollars per image) printed on A4 size handmade Mulberry paper, and produced right here in Chiang Mai, Thailand. Each set is signed and numbered to ensure authenticity.

To speak of mass entertainment during the 20th century is to speak of film, and the place to see films was in stand-alone movie theaters. This fact was no different in Thailand, Burma or any place on Earth that embraced cinema. Throughout the 20th century, Thai entrepreneurs constructed over 700 of these leisure palaces nationwide. Today there are less than 10 still in operation.

All 20 images laid out on a table

This sleek portfolio set can be neatly inserted among over-sized books on a shelf, or laid flat on a coffee table. Otherwise, decorate a room by individually framing your favorite theater images.


Some of these photos have been featured in exhibitions across Asia. Others have never before been seen.

Keep in mind that only 35 of these portfolios will ever be printed, making them extremely collectible. As of January 1st, 2016, only 13 copies remain. If you purchase one of these final sets you will also be reserving yourself a pre-paid for copy of the forth coming "Movie Theaters of Thailand" coffee table book, to be published by River Books at the end of this year. But most significantly,  your purchase will go directly to support further documentation of the stand-alone movie theaters in Burma, where these important buildings are desperately in need of some exposure.

Many thanks for your support,

Phil Jablon

No comments:

Post a Comment