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Phuket Film Festival 2010 Names Award Winners


Lower than expected theater attendance, a reluctance to travel to "town" to view movies, a need by organizers to cut financial losses by releasing screening equipment early (equipment that was costing nearly 30,000 Baht a day) shortening the Festival to 7 days from 10 and underfunding, (Festival was supported by one private sector source with only a 300,000 Baht grant from the Thai government) all led to the poor performance of the 2010 Phuket Film Festival.

Due to the overall lack of interest and support on the part of the Phuket community, the People's Choice Awards for the Festival have been canceled.


"While the Festival had some very strong supporters in the community, lack of overall response to movies that did play the Festival does not allow us to proceed with a People's Choice Award," said organizer Scott Rosenberg. "It is unfortunate that while our business plan was strong, things just did not pan out the way they should have. You never expect to make money but you can break even if you fill the auditorium with an audience- which we just were not doing. It was embarrassing for us and embarrassing for the international film makers that attended the Festival to see their film screen to less than a handful of people."


While People's Choice Awards are not being presented, the Organizing Committee does feel some film makers and their craft do deserve international attention, thus the following special Festival Awards are presented:


A special Audience Appreciation Award to Bitter/Sweet (Jeff Hare director, Angel & Bear Productions, 2009) and Do Elephant's Pray? (Paul Hills director, Amaranth Film Partners, 2009)


Bitter/Sweet, a USA/ Thai production filmed entirely in Thailand portrays a side of the Kingdom rarely seen in film, that of Thailand's coffee industry. Stunning location shots of Koh Samui and a plethora of the movie's "stars" at the Coliseum Cineplex for the Thailand premiere helped make this picture an audience delight.


As for Do Elephant's Pray? Wise Kway in his "Thai Film Journal" says it best:


"Among the films hit by the cutbacks was Do Elephants Pray? which was enthusiastically promoted by English filmmaker Paul Hills, screenwriter-star Johnnie Hurn and actor John Last. The trio had rented a small car and had been burning up the roads from one end of the island to the other, passing out leaflets at bars, beaches and shopping centers, encouraging people to turn out and see the movie." And come they did with about 80 "fans" turning out to see the indie British film thus earning it the special Audience Appreciation Award.


The Organizing Committee also presents a New Asian Director Award to Vietnamese helmer Le Thanh Son for Bay Rong (Clash). First screened at this year's New York Tribeca Film Festival, as part of their "Cinemania" slate, Clash is a broad, colorful, snappy action flick that delivers the basic goods at a very brisk clip -- and doesn't waste a lot of brain cells while doling out the violence. A great start to a budding genre in Vietnam.


Lastly, the 2010 Phuket Film Festival top honors go to Yuthlert Sippapak for Friday Killer. The Festival's International Break-out Award is awarded to Sippapak as they feel he will not only have great success with his trilogy of hitman films (Friday Killer, Saturday Killer, Sunday Killer) but will go on to break-out of directing domestic Thai films and pick-up a wider regional and international audience.


Again, quoting Wise Kway, "In the chill-out atmosphere of the Stereolab lounge on the surf-kissed Surin Beach, prolific filmmaker Yuthlert Sippapak unveiled his latest movie, a crime drama that bears all his trademarks of artful and fun genre-blending, with lots of comedy and cheeky self-referential nods.

Like his first film Killer Tattoo and the many that have followed, Friday Killers has a comedian in the lead, playing a solidly and refreshingly dramatic role. Iconic comic Thep Po-ngam, is a hitman named Pae Uzi, released from 20 years in prison to find out he has a daughter (played by Ploy Jindachote) ...she's a cop, and she's gunning for him. A chance for father-daughter reconciliation is lost due to a case of mistaken identity and the rest of the story has both characters seeking to redeem themselves."

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