Saturday, July 31, 2010

Film festivals of a new kind

Let it be known to all you cinephiles in Thailand and Laos, or anybody who might be headed in that direction, there are two inaugural film fests taking place very soon. Next week, in fact, from August 6-8, begins Bangkok IndieFest. The motley mix of independent, international programming for this first-time film fest will be screened at Bangkok's HOF Art Gallery. This may be the initial run for BKK IndieFest, but the organizers are veterans of the trade, having held successful festivals for three years and counting over at Cambofest, in Phnom Penh and Kampot, Cambodia. Their inaugural Bangkok version is shaping up to be an event worth making time for.

Across the border and few months down the road, the Luang Prabang Film Festival is set to run from December 4th to the 11th in the picturesque Laotian city it's named for. This is an exciting prospect for little Luang Prabang, which is notoriously lacking in entertainment options once the sun goes down. There's no doubt that the ancient capital of northern Laos will benefit enormously from this dose of the silver screen.

Unfortunately, despite the best efforts of their organizers, neither Bangkok IndieFest nor the Luang Prabang Film Fest will be screening films in any classic stand-alone theaters this year. But maybe - just maybe - if enough people turn out to get their fix of film this time around, next year's festivities will be held in one of the few remaining stand-alone theaters in Bangkok or Luang Prabang. A lurid possibility which I hope to see happen more often at local film fests.

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