(AFP) – Jul 29, 2008
BANGKOK (AFP) — The sixth Bangkok International Film Festival will go ahead in the Thai capital in September, organisers announced Tuesday, despite becoming embroiled in a US corruption scandal last year.
The 2008 festival will run at an upmarket Bangkok cinema from September 23 to 30, co-host the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) announced.
"It is a great opportunity for Thailand to support the film industry and establish a position as a cultural and entertainment hub of the region," TAT's deputy governor Junhaporn Rerngronasa said.
The programme was not announced, but artistic director Yongyoot Thongkongtoon said the Coen brothers' new film "Burn After Reading" and a documentary about Argentine football legend Diego Maradona would likely make the final line-up.
"There will be many international films," he told AFP.
Rumours had swirled that the festival would take a break this year after a Los Angeles-based couple were arrested in the United States in December for allegedly paying 1.7 million dollars in bribes to a Thai government official for the right to manage the 2003 festival.
A former TAT governor was forced to withdraw her candidacy from Thailand's general elections in December because of her alleged links to the scandal.
Festival organisers have in the past said their ambition is to become an Asian festival to rival Busan in South Korea, but instead the event has been bogged down in funding issues, organisational hurdles and infighting.
Last year's festival was lacklustre, with few big names attending, although the 2006 extravaganza saw celebrities Oliver Stone, Willem Dafoe and Catherine Deneuve lining the red carpet.
Thailand has, meanwhile, been building its reputation as a destination for film shoots, with parts of Ridley Scott's crime epic "American Gangster" and Rambo's poorly-received fourth outing being shot in the kingdom.
The homegrown film industry is also winning accolades abroad, with experimental director Apichatpong Weerasethakul becoming the first Thai director to sit on the Cannes jury this year.
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