New Life for Thai Films

lifestyle January 13, 2015 01:00

By PARINYAPORN PAJEE
THE NATION

5,926 Viewed

Zombies and indie movies will likely dominate this year



 With Hollywood's awards season now in full swing, it seems only right that we award one of our one: the prize for biggest box-office takings. Not surprisingly, that goes to GTH’s latest romantic comedy, “I Fine Thank You Love You”, which last Saturday become the studio’s second highest grossing film of all time, topping Bt325 million and looking likely to take even more cash before it finishes its run.
“I Fine” was released late last year and as we look forward to 2015, can we expect similar profits – or losses such as the measly Bt7,900 earned by “3 Antarai” aka “TV Game Net” owns its lowest at Bt7,900 in seven days of screening –to be made by any of the films scheduled to hit the screens.
Information released by the Thai film industry indicates that just like 2014, most of the movies to be released this year will be by independent filmmakers. Indies earned comparative success last year and earned recognition from both viewers and the cinema business. That bodes well for 2015, as they will almost certainly be given more show time and thus more chance to make a few baht.
And they are getting off to the right start with the opening of the indie production “The Isthmus” this Thursday after more than a year travelling around the festival circuit. It’ll be in limited release at House and Lido.
Another festival favourite, “Phleng Khong Khao” (“The Songs of Rice”), starts a limited run on January 22 at SF World Cinema. The documentary will be up against the teenage comedy, Tanwarin Sukkhapisit’s “Ror Dor Khao Chon Phee Thee Khao Chon Kai”, from Phranakorn Films.
Major studio Sahamongkol Films, which didn’t enjoy a particularly good 2014, has a stockpile and will start its year with MR Chalermchatri “Adam” Yukol’s “Phee Ha Ayothaya” on February 18.
Makers of the movie say its the first Thai zombie film, with Adam setting it during the Ayutthaya Period, when villagers mysteriously die off and then the bodies come back to life and start snacking on the living. Monks and magic, usually dependable against ghosts, have no sway over them.
Adam seems to have set a trend and we can expect another Thai zombie film later this year. “Phee Ha Rattanakosin” has a more recent historical setting for the dreaded undead. This one began as a mock trailer for third year film students at King Mongkut’s Institute of Technology Lat Krabang. It was posted on YouTube and drew a great response, so now it’s been blown up into a full-length feature.
The real finale of the epic “The Legend of King Naresuan” is being released on April 9, just in time for the Songkran holidays – assuming, of course, it isn’t postponed like the five previous parts. This added episode includes new footage as well as kilometres of film shot by director MC Chatrichalerm “Than Mui” Yukol over the last 10 years.
Another Sahamongkol release marks the return of “Ong-Bak” director Prachya Pinkaew who has ditched fighting in favour of singing. His new film, “Luk Thung Actually”, chronicles the love stories of seven couples through Thai country folksongs. Krissada Sukosol Clapp, Shahkrit Yamnarn, Chalathit “Ben” Tantiwut, TV show host Withawat Soontornwinate and writer Su Boonliang are among the cast.
For his part, ML Bandevanop “Mom Noi” Devakul sticks with remaking earlier hits, this time is tackling the erotic snake thriller “Mae Bia”. The Sahamongkol line-up also includes the much-postponed historical epic “Khun Phan” by Kongkiat Khomsiri.
GTH has so far confirmed just one project. “May Who”, which is directed by Chayanop Bunprakob of “Suckseed” fame and is due for release in March to coincide with the long school break.
M-Thirtynine is keeping mum about its projects but word has leaked about two films: Kittikorn Liawsirikul’s “Joe Hua Tangmo” starring Jirayu La-ongmanee and the studio’s favourite actress Ramita Mahaphrukpong and Rerkchai Phuangphet’s “Paa Happy” featuring popular TV actress Khemanit “Pancake” Jamikorn
Siwaporn Pongsuwan, who has been silent since her 2006 directorial debut “Khaoniao Mooping” moves from the feel-good genre to horror with the Thai-Cambodian outing “Bong Srolanh Oun” – Khmer for “I love you”.
Initially scheduled for February 6, it’s been pushed to February 12, giving more chance to her little brother’s Thanakorn’s “Single Lady Phror Khoei Me Fan” (“Single Lady”) to shine. Hitting screens on February 6, it sees another collaboration between Thanakorn and Phatcharapha Chaichua, who starred in his debut “Fake”. It’s the second project of indie studio Transformation Films, which enjoyed modest success with last year’s “Tukkae Rak Pang Mak” (“Chiang Khan Story”).
The ebullient Poj Anon apparently has plenty of new projects up his sleeve including the release in March of the latest in the “Mor 6/5” franchise. Set in Phuket, it focuses on a confrontation between the protagonists and ghosts from the 2004 tsunami and risks being controversial.
The makers of the indie success “Phoobao Thai Baan: E-San Indy” are working on a new story “E-San New Old Songs” for local consumption. Nichphoom Chaianan of “My Bromance” is also targetting his home fans “Mua Fon Yod Long Bon Hua” (“When Rain Drops on the Head”) which, like his earlier hit, is an all-Chiang Mai outing.
Fans of “Ong-Bak” action star Phanom “Tony Jaa” Yeerum will be able to witness his high kicks in the Hollywood franchise “Fast and Furious 7” and Ekachai Uekrongtham is also set to show off his Hollywood director skills with “Skin Trade”.