Thailand on pace for record number of foreign film productions
Thailand’s appeal to global filmmakers as a location for shooting and production remains strong despite last year’s political turmoil, as the Kingdom is on pace to set a new record for revenues from foreign film production, according to last week’s issue of the Hollywood Reporter, an industry publication.
According to figures from the Thailand Film Office, in the first five months of 2015, revenue from foreign film and video productions was $46.7 million. In the whole of 2014, total revenue from foreign productions was $57.25 million, meaning that after five months, revenue is already above 80 percent of last year’s total. In 2014, 48 foreign feature films were shot or produced in Thailand, while through May 2015, 37 feature films had already initiated production.
In addition, the Kingdom usually sees a rush of foreign productions during the cool season at the end of the year and into early next year. But with a number of productions currently in preproduction and production, Thailand’s production service industry looks set to be busy for the remaining 12 months.
Among the big ticket films being shot and produced in Thailand this year are Gold, a film about the 1993 Bre-X Corporation mining scandal starring Matthew McConaughey and Michelle Williams and directed by Stephen Gaghan who was the director on Syriana. Another major film is production is All I See Is You, a psychological drama directed by German-Swiss director Marc Forster, and written by British writer Sean Conway. The film stars Blake Lively and Jason Clarke and will be released in 2016.
Ubolwan Sucharitakul, director of the Thailand Film Office, said that Thailand’s experience in hosting productions, its well-developed logistics, skilled crews and the wide range of attractive locations have helped the country remain competitive in attracting major film and video productions.
“We have met producers who were tempted by incentives to film in countries with less well-established film industries, and some have found that they were hampered by the lack of crew, facilities and infrastructure, and that the savings have been offset by the need to import crew and equipment and by the inefficiencies caused by lack of experience and communication,” Ubolwan told the Hollywood Reporter.
Among the famous films shot in Thailand were The Deer Hunter, The Man With The Golden Gun, The Ugly American, Good Morning Viet Nam, The Killing Fields, and Alexander. Productions shot there in recent years include Hangover II, The Beach, The Impossible and The Lady. The success of the Chinese movie Lost in Thailand in 2013 has resulted in a flood of Chinese tourists.
Thai filmmakers have also begun to make their mark internationally, with director Apichatpong Weerasethakul winning the top prize at the Cannes Film Festival in 2010 for Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives, while others have been among the finalists. Pen-ek Rattanarueang, best known for Last Life in the Universe, is also considered to be one of Thai cinema’s leading “new wave” auteurs.
Thailand Focus July 20th, 2015
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