Film chief resigns over festival feud
Somsak Techarattanaprasert has resigned as head of Thailand’s premier cinematic body amid a controversy that was threatening next week’s Bangkok International Film Festival.
SOMSAK: hurt by accusations.
Somsak, better known as “Sia Jiang”, said at yesterday’s general meeting of the Federation of National Film Associations of Thailand that he was quitting the presidency.
“If people think I make trouble for the federation, why should I stay?” said Somsak with tears in his eyes at the meeting held at the SC Park Hotel attended by more than 200 industry people.
Somsak, who is also president of Sahamongkol Film studio, had headed the federation for three and a half years. He said he would not come back to the post but would maintain his membership of the federation.
His resignation comes after weeks of bickering among federation members over its participation in the February 17 to 27 Bangkok Film Festival, organised by the Tourism Authority of Thailand.
Citing the Tourism Authority’s failure to properly consult the federation about festival arrangements, Somsak had called for a boycott of the event.
“The TAT is behind the [federation] conflict. They should take responsibility,” he said.
Three major studios – GTH, Five Stars Production and RS Promotion – objected to the boycott plan and withdrew from the federation earlier this week. Their departure was a key factor in his decision to step down as president.
The federation’s secretary Chaiwat Taveewongsangthong will act as caretaker president for 30 days until the federation holds a new election.
“People say I’m like a mafia boss and the federation’s committee members are my people. Do you believe that I can control all of them? Think about it, they are well respected people who are elected to work for the Thai film industry,” said Somsak.
His family, however, welcomed his resignation.
“I’m glad that he has quit because he was too busy working for the federation and had no time to work for his company. It’s hard for him to please everyone while wearing two hats,” said Somsak’s daughter Awika.