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Source:  http://www.bangkokpost.com/entertainment/movie/26528/contentious-film-banned-from-festival

Contentious film banned from festival

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Contentious film banned from festival

  • Published: 30/10/2009 at 12:00 AM
  • Newspaper section: News

An independent Thai film featuring gay issues and footage of the Tak Bai incident has been banned by the Ministry of Culture from showing at next month's World Film Festival of Bangkok.

This Area Is Under Quarantine, an experimental documentary that links the problems faced by gays and Muslims, was directed by Thunska Pansittivorakul, who was named Silapathorn Artist by the same ministry in 2007.

The film has become the first casualty of the confusing new regulations regarding the classification system to be used at special screenings and film festivals.

The law requires a film festival organiser to submit synopses of all films to be shown to a subcommittee whose job is to consider if any of them needs to be rated. If so, it will instruct the organiser to submit the potentially problematic films to the main rating committee.

Last week, the subcommittee, having viewed the film, informed the organiser that This Area Is Under Quarantine could not be shown without first being rated. So the organiser tried to submit it to the seven-man rating committee of the Culture Ministry. However, the committee said the festival did not have the proper documents to register the film and so it could not consider it.

"The system is still complicated," said Suvannee Chinchiewchan, a member of the subcommittee.

"We never meant to stop the film from being shown. Our job is only to tell the organiser to submit the film to be rated first, since the subcommittee has no power to assign ratings."

Kriangsak Silakong, who heads the World Film Festival of Bangkok which takes place from Nov 6 to 15, said: "I'm sorry that the film I want to show cannot be shown.

"We want to show the film not because it's controversial, but because it tells a story that we have never seen before, especially the reference to the Tak Bai incident. I believe this is something that deserves to be shown."

In September, the state-sponsored Bangkok International Film Festival showed a few films that contained graphic sexual scenes. The festival imposed its own rating and ID check, since the subcommittee to filter the films had yet to be appointed.

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Writer: Kong Rithdee
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