The Princess of Thailand at PIFF

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Started off the night at the Thailand film party at the Grand Hotel. When I got there I found out that her Royal Majesty herself, Princess Ubolratana Rajakanya (??????????????????????????????? ????????????????), would be kicking off the event. The red carpet was laid out and then re-laid out several times. The Korean hosts were taking this visit very seriously, though surprisingly there were no major officials there to greet the princess when she arrived. Here is a short clip of her making the scene. To be quite honest, I was overcome with emotion. Something in my frontal lobe kicked in and said, “Hey, she is royalty!” I mean, I didn’t wet my pants, but it was pretty humbling. Whomever of her siblings ascend to the throne will mark the 10th monarch of the present dynasty currently under the reign of the Great Rama IX.



The party was pretty good, martinis and wine to your liver’s content, but the buffet was out of reach until after the princess made her presentation. It kicked off with a pleasant English speech from the princess followed by a traditional Thai dance by a small troupe. It looked to be some sort of mythical reenactment complete with the Green Monkey God (where was Willem Dafoe when I needed him most?) two ninjas (huh?) and three exquisitely dressed Thai dancers. There were booming drums, an inordinate amount of thunder and lightning and the there sat the princess alone at the head of the crowd taking it all in.


The Princess and the players

Then the video started heralding the benefits of filming in Thailand. I watched it for a few minutes, then a few minutes more and then.. it just kept going and going on and on. Tharp, Chevy and I decided to blow the party and head to the Westin Chosun for the Showbox (Korea’s second largest film distributor) party.

Of the numerous parties I have been to at PIFF over the years, this was the first time I went to one hosted by a Korean organization. It was very much in the Korean style; lots of loud music and a magic show. The food was pretty good, had these great skewers with seafood and cream sauce, though I was disappointed that the only beverages were cans of “Maxx” beer and Maekoli. The crowd was 99% Korean and had the least international feel of any of the parties I have been too.


The CEO of Showbox with the tireless founder of PIFF, Kim Dong Ho, looking on

We got our fill, met a few movie folk and a lot of people in no way associated with the industry, and headed down to Novotel for the Spanish embassy party. It was on the back lawn and was filled with people from every where in the world. The Czech ambassador was there as well as film makers and mid-level actors and actress from several different countries.

The Spanish know how to throw a party. Very chill and very conducive to coversation.

The highlight of my evening came in two parts. The first was the director/producer from Finland, Simojukka Ruippo (www.somafilm.com). I asked him what he did back home and he told me “baggage handler.” Ohh, those funny Fins!

Turns out that he had attended every PIFF since the very beginning and this year was back to promote his latest project, “The 2nd Antarctic Film Festival.” Seriously. Last year he said the event attracted 8 Antarctic science researches and he was hoping to double attendance this year.

I got the impression that he had money to burn and wanted to have fun with it. I really liked him–even though he was a baggage handler.

The highlight of my evening was meeting Djinn Carrénard, a new director from France who was reeling from the fact that his 150 Euro film had been accepted into several film festivals around the world. He was disarmingly funny and I see great things in his future. Who knows, maybe even a doubling of his budget on the next film. You can check out the trailer here.

That is it for this dispatch. Falling behind in my other work on the site. Cheerio.

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Founder/Editor-in-Chief

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