Thailand Film Destination Festival state organisers pulled four films from their festival, but have not made their reasons officially clear, though observers have noted that the dropped films had raunchy or violent scenes that showed the country in a bad light, reported The Straits Times on 10 July 2016.
One of the banned films was ‘Twilight over Burma’, which tells the real-life story of an Austrian woman who married an ethnic Shan prince during the early days of Myanmar’s independence and 1962 military coup. Independent scholar Akkanut Wantanasombut said that festival organisers told him the film was pulled because it would “affect the relationship between Thailand and Myanmar”.
Festival public relations officer Kaew Chaviwan said the movies were pulled not just for content, but also for practical matters, such as “time slots available”; however, the newspaper notes that of the 10 remaining films, four films will be screened twice.
Invitations to the film’s producer, director and stars were also withdrawn, reported Myanmar Times on 8 July 2016.
The three other movies dropped from the event were French film ‘Pattaya’, which featured a sex scene filmed inside an ancient monastic hall; Swedish film ‘Happy Hour in Paradise’ about an alcoholic priest in Phuket; and Chinese film ‘Detective Chinatown’, a comedy mystery set in Bangkok’s Chinatown.
Thailand’s state-funded festival, organized by the country’s tourism department and film office, was created to attract international filmmakers to produce movies in Thailand and features films shot in Thailand using national cast or crew. The fourth annual festival runs from 6-13 July 2016.
Earlier in June 2016, Myanmar’s film censorship board also pulled ‘Twilight over Burma’ from the annual Human Rights Human Dignity International Film Festival, stating that it could “harm ethnic unity” and the “image of the military”.
» The Straits Times – 10 July 2016:
Thai film festival draws flak for dropping four movies
» Myanmar Times – 8 July 2016:
After being pulled from Yangon screening, ‘Twilight over Burma’ banned at Thai film festival
» Asian Correspondent – 7 July 2016:
Thailand film festival bans ‘Twilight over Burma’, but will show latest Steven Seagal flick twice
» The Nation – 6 July 2016:
Twilight over Burma removed from film festival in Thailand
» Khaosod – 4 July 2016:
Film fest promoting Thailand in disarray after censors pull entries
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