At least Thailand has a film industry. Films like Mum Jokmok’s Body Guard Nah Liam and Tukky Jao Ying Khai Kob fill theaters with audiences in hysterics. After a decade of trial and errors, film companies figured out some surefire comedy and horror blueprints. “Like it or not, these two genres have now become an identity of a Thai film,” says director Aditya Assart, winner of this year’s Silapathorn Award. “They’re like pillars of the whole industry.”
”Kittiyaporn Klangsurin (Kittiyapron Klangsurin), one of the directors of erotic film series Brown Sugar, agrees that at least Thai cinema in general is fairly healthy and is moving in the right direction. It means movie companies are now starting to give more opportunities to unknown directors like herself.”
Uruphong Raksasad concurs that there is more money than ever for more introspective, less mainstream movies. But she doesn’t think it’s going to come from Thai produc- ers: “Filmmakers these days have it a lot easier than my generation. There’s plenty of funding to be had, but it’s mostly from overseas sources.”
A third source to have recently emerged with full pock- ets is the government. The uproar over the original plan to fund King Naresuan 3 with half of the Ministry of Culture’s B200-million film budget, finally caused them to halve that figure, leaving B150 million to smaller projects. (Or it could have been that they discovered that the Ministry of Econo- my had also pledged another B300 million to the historical epic?) Under Abhisit’s economic stimulus package, the Thai Kham Khaeng scheme, local filmmakers are also receiving unprecedented financial support—but the project is only charted to last three years. “It’s a good starting point but I hope this will continue and become permanent,” says Aditya.