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NYC Film Festivals

A Different Taste of Thai

By Elena Marinaccio

Taking place over two weekends in both Astoria and the East Village, the Thai Takes 3 Independent Film Festival features work from leaders of the South East Asian kingdom’s avant-garde and new wave movements. Opening with the New York premiere of Wisit Sasanatieng’s period piece The Unseeable (and the preceding short film, Blush), the biennial festival features 26 films, (almost all East Coast premieres), including experimental shorts from emerging Thai-American directors and a family-friendly program that runs at 5 p.m. on Sunday, April 15 -- just after celebrations end for Songkran, the Thai New Year.

A scene from Wisit Sasanatieng’s The Unseeable, the opening-night film at the Thai Takes 3 Independent Film Festival (Photo: Thai Links)

“We saw a film festival as an opportunity for people to learn a little bit more about Thailand in a more historical and sociopolitical context," said festival co-director and founder of the creative collective Thai Links, Chanika Svetvilas. "They know Pad Thai, but they don’t know much more. Or they’re more familiar with the headline issues like AIDS or the commercial sex industry -- but there is more beyond the beaches.”

In addition to a preview of Pratt Institute alum Pen-Ek Ratanaruang's upcoming Invisible Waves, post-screening Q&As with Kong Rithdee (film critic and writer for Bangkok Post and Variety) and with many of the filmmakers, including as Virada Chatikul (Boonkhun) and Tana Sarntinoranont (Blush), Thai Takes will host its a panel discussion, Riding the Thai New Wave, at the Pioneer Theater April 22. “What we realized is that because people don’t have enough exposure to Thai films, and that there are some subtleties that audiences might not be aware of," Svetvilas told The Reeler. "They might come to a film and be really intrigued, but seeking more information and not knowing where to get it. And of course we want to give these filmmakers the opportunity to meet with the film community here in New York. I think it’s going to be a very interesting conversation.”

Thai Takes 3 runs April 13-15 at the Museum of the Moving Image in Queens, and April 21-22 at the Pioneer Theater in Manhattan. Visit the Thai Takes 3 Web site for program and ticket information.

Posted at April 12, 2007 8:00 AM

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