Thai films losing out to Americanisation, rues British filmmaker

Thai films losing out  to Americanisation, rues British filmmaker

 Local culture and issues find no place in Thai films because of ‘Americanisation’, said British director Paul Spurrier, during a press interaction at Biffes.

Spurrier has spent more than 12 years in Thailand and his movie set in that country ‘The Forest’ was screened at the film festival. “You are lucky that you have such a thriving regional film industry here,” he said.

He said that the share of regional cinema in the Thai industry was 30% in 2014 and in 2015, it dropped even lower to a worrying 13%. Hollywood movies have taken over the box offices leaving hardly any room for local filmmakers. “Even films made in Thailand are not representative of the country’s culture and society.

They show middle-class families, living in condominiums and eating at McDonald’s,” Spurrier said. The trend of Americanisation extends to their food and culture too, he said. “The government needs to do more in the way of supporting local films through subsidies. Also, the major studios in Thailand should form an association and work to reverse the trend,” he said.

Egyptian director Hala Khalili said that a similar situation affects the film industry in her country. Distributors create roadblocks for non-commercial films, she said. “They schedule it during big Hollywood releases. They do not give good time slots. They think that people like only Hollywood movies,” Khalili said. Her movie ‘Nawara’ about the 2011 revolution in Egypt has won her several awards and was screened in the ‘Country Focus: Egypt’ category.

Just as in Thailand, local culture in Egypt is also being homogenised, she said. “A majority of the people are living a lifestyle which is American, mimicking their ways.” Fortunately, a new generation of filmmakers is rallying against this by making films based on Egyptian culture, Khalili said.

‘Dub into Kannada’

Social Welfare Minister H Anjaneya attended the film festival for the screening of the 1999 movie by Jabbar Patel ‘Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar’. He urged the Karnataka Chalanachitra Academy to help dub the English movie into Kannada so that more people could watch it and learn about the life of Ambedkar. He also said the state government would be interested in making a movie on Ambedkar. Secretary of the Social Welfare Department, P Manivannan and commissioner Vikash Kumar Vikash were also present at the screening.

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