Thai Short Film Situation: Increasing of Skillful Short Film Students, Challenging in Variety of Contents -3
• Opportunity for Film Students in Access to Film Industry !
As mentioned above, the filmmakers are in fierce competition in Thai Film Industry as the film market in
Thailand is not the rising market but it rather static one. However, there are still opportunities or some
channel for Film Students to play their role in film industry though not in a big number.
It is found that after their graduation, many of film students have worked at the production house
producing TVC, viral clip or making TV series or TV drama. Most of their work concerns post production. In the meantime, the film students who are able to be in film industry normally use their short film as a tool to present their ability for people in film business. Additionally, to be internship in company related to film industry is also another path to have personnel in film circle to see their attention or passion as well as potential of these students and they may be invited to work together after commencement.
Many universities that have courses in film often invite the professional of this career to share their
knowledge and experience to students. Some of them are invited as lecturer for whole session. This is
another channel to make personnel in film circle to see students’ ability.
For example, faculty of Communication Arts, Chulalongkorn University has invited Jira Malikul, the
famous Thai Film Director from GTH Company (now GDH 559) to be a guest lecturer. Since Jira has
taught in the Faculty of Communication Arts in 1994, he initiated a film festival called “Kang Jor” to
allow students to show their short films. Kang Jor makes the student films seen by other people not only
among the students themselves as it used to be. Kang Jor festival has continually been organized for 23
years. When Jira established his own company, he was not only direct his own feature film production but
also served as film producer in many commercial films. In 2003, he has asked his film students to develop
film script and direct the film entitled Fan Chan (My Girl, 2003). The film narrates back to the nostalgic
relationship about childhood. All main characters of this film are children and it becomes the first children
movie in Thailand that makes very high income. The film was directed by 6 directors and those 6
directors currently still shine in Thai film industry. It is nothing wrong to say that Jira has developed 6
directors or filmmakers for Thai film industry just at one sitting. Furthermore, Whenever being invited to
comment on “Kang jor” short films, Jira always accepted invitation, which is also a good opportunity for
him to see film students who have potential to go on in film business and he will also sound out or
propose them to work in his company. Films directed by Jira include Mekong Full Moon Party (2002),
The Tin Mine (2005) and Seven Something (2012)
Fan Chan (2003)
Though Thai film Industry is not a high growth industry, the persons that have a chance to be in the film
making process are the persons with outstanding ability that draw the film companies’ attention. Short
films is one of the tools to pave the way for film students to access film career.
As a lecturer teaching film study for over 20 years, I find that the atmosphere of sharing, cooperation and
support among short filmmakers, both in student group and other general people group, has contributed to
good work. It is not competition or intention to fame oneself or their institute that create good piece. In
the latest “Kang Jor” films, the 23rd one in 2016, the name of working team shoed at end credit include the
name of students from other universities that help working on short films of Chulalongkorn University
Students. The cooperation among institutes is the action that should be promoted or supported as when
these film students graduated, they will be in the same circle so they need to know and help each other.
These students may know each other during their internship so when they have to pursue senior project,
they ask their friends from other institutes to help because friends from the same institute have to also
make their own short film at the same time. By having friends from other institutes to join the production
crew, during “Kang Jor” show time, there were also friends from other institutes came to see the film,
which made the 23rd Kang Jor audience significantly increases from 500 to 800 people on the weekend
Kang Jor 23rd : Student Short Film Exhibition of Chulalongkorn University
Apart from the atmosphere of sharing among film students, there are also groups of people in film circle
both mainstream and independent that willing to support short filmmakers. These people once were short
filmmakers that submit their films to compete in film festivals and currently their name are well-known in
film circle. Some of them include:
Anocha Suwichakornpong, Independent film director entitled Mundane Story (2010). She is a founder of
Electric Eel Films who turn from film director into film producer. She has supported new talent director
by making package and finding the way to let them have chance for international pitching. Whenever, she
has a chance to be a resource person providing lecture or being a committer for judging short films, she
will always be willing to do with welcome.
Aditya Assarat, Independent Film Director who direct Wonderful Town (2007) and a film producer for
many new directors, such as Sivaroj Kongsakul, the film called Eternity (2010); Nawapol
Thamrongrattanarit, the film called 36 (2012) and Mary is Happy, Mary is Happy (2013). Aditya has won
Best New Director Award from Busan International Film Festival and won Best Tiger Awards from
International Film Festival Rotterdam. Hence, Aditya can be a role model a succeeded independent
filmmaker. He has connection in Busan International film festival, which is the target festival for Thai
Film students to submit their short film in competition.
In 2014, Aditya Joined 21st Kang Jor Festival as commentator. He saw that a short film called That Day of
the Month (2014) by Jirassaya Wongsutin was a film that has potential to compete in the international film
festival so he supported to have this film shown in Busan. Later, after this film has won White Elephant
Best Film award from Thai Short Film & Video Festival, the film has been accepted to show in many
festival both in Asia and Europe. This is a clear example of how Aditya Assarat has supported new short
That Day of the Month (2014) by Jirassaya Wongsutin
Lee Chatametikool is a film editor, sound editor and independent film director who used to work together
with Apichatpong Weerasethakul on these following films: Blissfully Yours (2002), Tropical Malady
(2004), Syndrome and a Century (2006) and Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives (2010). He
is also film editor for many outstanding director in Thailand. Lee is a guest lecturer teaching postproduction
for many institutes. His teaching provides knowledge for students on post –production
systematically, which contribute to making of short film more professional.
Currently, these people have worked together and supported each other. They are mentors for high
potential film but still lacking of budget or have low budget for production to have funding for making
film and to have opportunities to show in different competitions both domestic and abroad. They also
encourage the short filmmakers to have passion in pushing themselves to make their own short film with
their full capacity.
The atmosphere of sharing, cooperation and support of students from various institutes give advantage for
film industry. Short Shorts Film Festival organised symposium of Short film in South East Asia make us
better know the situation of short films and documentaries in South East Asia. I really think that we can
share our opinion and exchange information or even invite academic staff or lecturing or making
workshop to make us know each other more. Especially, youth who will be strength for short filmmaking
in future, not only to let them know and understand themselves more, but also, to know their neighbouring in historical, cultural, political context in South East Asia. This will give us new hope for
Thai Short Film Situation: Increasing of Skillful Short Film Students, Challenging in Variety of Contents-2
The Number of Student’s Short
As figure shown above, it is nothing to be surprised to see the numbers of Student Short film are so high
as making short film is compulsory for senior project. In addition, they are also supported and encouraged
by their lecturers to participate in Thai Short Film Competition.
The adult’s short film is another story, though. Their quality of the short film is quite difference from
student’s short film. The main factor concerning quality is equipment support. Students can use equipment
from their college while the non-students have to either rent or buy equipment for their own which make
their film costly. With the limited budget, the non-student filmmakers have to decide to decrease the cost
of production, which consequently makes their quality also decrease. In addition, the other filmmakers
who have no knowledge on film production does not care much about cinematic language, they concern
only their story. Therefore, if we consider from production value, the students short film is much more
skillful but their issues are very limited, while if considering from content value, the non-students short
film are more interesting because they can express their aspirations by reflecting contemporary issue.
• The Rise of Thai Short Film
While feature film industry seems to be less dynamic, the short film making, in contrary has significantly
been growth every year. Thanks to Thai film Foundation and Thai film Archive, they have organized
annual Short Film and Video Competition continually for 20 years, which make Short filmmaking active.
According to record of 5 years, the participants are increasing yearly. One emerging phenomenon is that
film exhibition creates new audience and cinephile groups, (including lecturers, film critics, students, etc.
both from professional and amateur) which make audience increasing year after year. (More detail in
factor #4). This group of people has expanded their comments to other people and encourages more and
more people to see and participate in short film festival. This is one main reason that makes the growth of
Thai Short Film. However, there are many key factors contributing to the growth of Thai Short Film.
Those factors included:
1) Increasing of Film Studies Course in Public and Private Universities
More private and public universities have opened courses focusing on filmmaking though not as film
school but Film always contained as Film Major in Faculty of Communication Arts. It is also found but
very often in Faculty of Architecture, Major Film and Digital Media. Number of Film students each year
is around 1,000- 1,200 persons. (See table). There is a compulsory for film students to make a film in their
senior project, which can do it individually or in group depending on each university’s assignment.
2) Development of Digital System
Development of technology to digital system has reduced the cost of camera, the main equipment for
shooting film. The price of equipment is cheaper while the recording quality is more accessible under the
digital system help people in general be able to access to film making equipment. Currently, the film or
video clip can be made by smart phone.
One important point should be noted here that the production quality of student short film has been
upgraded and more developed comparing to their previous production and comparing to other adult’s
short film. This is because each academic institute has standard equipment available for students to produce senior project though it is not the latest version. In the meantime other non- film student
filmmakers have to pay the normal price for this equipment. For the student, if the university’s equipment
is not available for them, they can rent it in about 10% discount price. One of the student short film
committee once said that in judging the student short film, perfect shooting may be not the criteria to be
considered. However, since 4-5 years, that committee has to eat his word.
Behind the scene Student Short Film
3) Social Media Makes Knowledge on Film Production Easier to Access
Social media that provide comprehensively information on film production has been increasing, which
make out-of- school knowledge easy to access. People in general or even primary school or junior-high
school students are able to study filmmaking from online media. Short film or music video in available
Youtube are from various sources around the globe that can draw attention people interested in film
making use as reference or imitating the nice shot they found. The out-of –school learning through
expansion of social media help create more quantity of short film meanwhile the quality of shooting is
4) Annual Short Film and Video Competition Continually for 20 Years
Thai film Foundation by Chalida Uabumrungjit has played important role in organizing short film
competition continually for 20 years (1977-2016). Part of objective of the First Thai Short Film Festival
organized by Thai Film Foundation quoted:
Filmmakers are always limited to the term “professional”, which means they have to use experienced production team, popular actor/actress and investment budget that seem to make it be impossible for ordinary people to dream for doing it. In fact, there are some people creating their own dream with not big amount of budget and some with their creative presentation. These filmmakers often create their own work quietly and will show their film to group of people that are interested in “independence film” or to group of film students in universities. Unfortunately, these films are not often supported and publicized.
In 1997, the first year of Thai Short Film Competition, there was only 30 films and up to present there are
more than 500 films. This statistic is good index proving the growth of Thai Short Films in term of
quantity. The Thai Short Film Competition had divided awards into different categories including: White
Elephant Awards for Thai student under 18 years old; the Duke Award for Thai Documentary; Payut
Ngaokrachang Award for animations; and R.D. Pestonji Award for Thai Short Film by general people
The Thai Short Film Competition has been organized in every August. The award winning films will be
nominated by Thai Film Foundation to the International Short Film Festival and those films participated
in the Short Film Competition will be collected at Thai Film Archive. The Thai Short films that have been
selected to show at International Short Film Competition Festival will make both filmmakers and their
studying institute be well-known.
5) More Short Films Competition organized by Governmental and Non-governmental Agencies
Short Films becomes one of marketing strategies for goods and part of social campaign. Governmental
Agencies or Independent organizations often use short film to communicate information and idea on
social issues, such as, campaign on anti-corruption, HIV, energy saving, and so on. Youth is considered to
be target group in social campaign. Short Film Competition for social campaign, therefore, aims to
communicate with youth. Most of competition supporters provide budget for production and rewards.
Normally, they organize workshop training on the issue that the candidate want to do. Later, the script will
be selected and then, the filmmakers will receive the budget for making their films. The winner in the
competition will get reward and the winning award film will be broadcasted on television or produced in
form of DVD distributing for public or to serve as educational material in schools.
6) Workshop, Training, Seminar Concerning Short Film
Workshop, training, master class concerning have been organized and resource persons include film
directors both from domestic and abroad, producers, script writers, editors, film critics. Host of these
events include both government agencies, such as the Ministry of Culture, the Ministry of Sport and
Tourism, Thai Film Foundation and private sectors related to film making. For instance, in 2010, there
was a big event concerning short film, “Talk on Learning Direction on Film in Thailand” led by
Apichatpong Weerasethakul and other film directors also participate in the Talk, i.e., Pen-Ek
Ratanaruang. Students from many in statutes also participated to share their opinion. Seminar for sharing
idea and opinion or listening from experienced directors who succeed in their career. The event created
good learning atmosphere and open the vision of students. It is the way to nurture the
young people who are going to step up to film industry in the future
7) More Exhibition Channels on Short Films
There are more channels for short films to be showed. It exhibits in education institutes, gallery as well as
on television. Currently, the ThaiPBS channel (Thai Public Broadcast Service) presents the program
called “Talk to Film”, which short films and short documentary concerning are presented in the program.
As the program believes that to consume film will brighten up your wisdom, the program contains further
discussion after presenting those films, which lead to ignite more thought on each particular issue. For
example, if presenting the short film on LGBT, the program host will have a further interview with gender
expert or feminists.
The other program called “Nhang Pa Pai” (Go with the Movie Flow) is the travelling documentary
program presented by 2 short films directors that travelling to film festival around the world. The show
presents in the form of semi-reality, which is able to entertain audience by what they have found or have
observed along the trip. The program aims to inspire audience to dare to dream, dare to do ad to make it
succeed as both of them have done.
Short films selected to show on TV will make people know the short film director more and make public
audience has more chances to see short film as usually it is difficult to see because most of the time short
films are showed only in Bangkok. It is just from time to time that short films are brought to present in
universities in other provinces, such Chiang Mai, Khon Kaen, Udonthani, and so on.
In addition, Bangkok Metropolis has organized many film festivals, which open opportunity for
students and general audience to open their vision from seeing film from various nations and culture.
Sometimes after the show, the director of those films will be invited for Q&A session so that the audience
has a chance to learn about the thought and story behind the production of those film directors. This will
help strengthen consuming films of the audience. Some example of Film Festival organized in Bangkok
includes Bangkok Film Festival, Salaya International Documentary Film Festival and the Film Festivals
organized by each Foreign Embassy in Bangkok to promote their culture, such as European Union Film
Festival, German Film Week, Italian Film Festival, La fête of Alliance française and so on.
• Challenging of Thai Short Film
Though there are some factors mentioned above have provided the environment to make the growth of
Thai Short Films, it is not growing with strength. There are still some limitations or some challenging that
Thai Short Films need to overcome. The limitations include:
1.The content of Student Short Films is not so strong and lack of variety of contents. The main causes of
the problems are:
1.1 Character of Thai Students and Thai Educational System. Most of Thai students who enter to
study in the universities are from middle class family raised in nucleus family. They are raised with the
utmost care. Therefore, when they need to make short films, the main problem they have found is that
they have no story to tell because they don’t have much experience in life. The story emerging to them is
only what is from their inner experience or attitude, such as love and relationship of people in family. In
addition, Most of parents do not want their children confront with difficulty in life so they raise their
children in the way of overprotection. This way of raising the children contribute to less enthusiasm to
develop professional skill.
1.2 Their knowledge on film studies is not strong enough. Though there are course about film in many educational institute place, their importance of purpose is to produce the graduate for labor market,
namely they put most value in film production. Therefore, most of the budget is invested in production
equipment. In the meantime, there are not so many film researches in Thailand. Some universities opened
Master Degree in Film Studies, Chulalongkorn University, for instance, but after open for 3 badges, the
course has to close. However, Thai Film Foundation has an important academic mission to provide scholarship to research to strengthen new knowledge on film in Thailand. Such knowledge on Film Studies will further develop idea of students to be able to do more in analyzing or interpreting films. The knowledge also will enrich their understanding in life and human being, which will contribute to
development of their idea to create the story to make their short film to be profounder.
2. The Distribution of Short Films that Performing Income Still Low.
Thai short films mainly use self- distribution. There are rare distributors invest to buy short films to
distribute so there are very few filmmakers can earn for living by making short film. Most of people who
have passion in making short film have to earn for living on their main career in various field, such as
doctor, copy writer, architect, and so on. These people when they have enough savings and they have contented or issue to share, they will start making film. Thus, the content of general people is often different from student short films because the filmmakers are more mature on their idea and possess more experience from living and working. (However, it does not mean none of short film are sold. Down the
River (2004), a short film by Anucha Boonyawatana, for instance, a distributor from USA has bought the
copy rights for being solely distributor.
Thai Short Film Situation: Increasing of Skillful Short Film Students, Challenging in Variety of Contents-1
By Salaithip Charubhumi
• Thai Film Situation Overview
If roughly categorizing of short filmmakers in Thailand, it is found that there are two major groups: film students; and other adult groups both those who have proper film education or work in film production
filed and the other come from non – film academic training. However, before discussing about the
situation, let’s begin with the overall Thai film situation. Table and figure below show the annual record of
feature film comparing between Thai Domestic Products and International Imported ones.
Ratio between Thai Films and International Films
As we can see from the figure above, Thai Film’s mean is 58 while 217 for Imported Films. If considering
at market size ratio between domestic and imported film in Thailand in 2015, we can see the gap between
them: 33 million USD and 100 million USD, or 25%: and 75%, Thai films and imported films
respectively. Imported films are 3 times higher than Thai films in market share. Therefore, the index has
clearly explained that Thai feature film market size is not gross product but it is rather static.
What factors make Thai Film become in this current situation? According to film industry analyst and
observation among some film makers, film academic and people interested in film business, the problems
in Thai film industry include:
1. Lacking of Concrete Policy to Support Thai Film Industry.
There are no concrete policies or procedures to support Thai Film industry from both public and private
sector. Thai filmmakers confront difficulty to find financial aid, neither loan nor funding, because feature
film production in Thailand is still labeled as “High Risk Business”.
2. Only Small Number of Studios able to Secure Income from Their Production
There are only 5 major studios (GTH, Sahamonkol International Film, Five Star Production,
Pranakornfilm and M39) that can still survive and gain secure income from their production. Those 5
studios’ products are commercial film, which target to serve mass audience. Therefore, there is no variety
of Genres in Thai films. By these reasons, the amount of labor market for graduated film students has
3. Monopoly in Film Distribution and Film Exhibition
The monopoly in the film exhibition business by 2 major companies: Major Cineplex Group and SF
Cinema City cause also another trouble in Thai film Industry. These two companies have power in a
negotiation concerning amount of show times of each film. They give the priority to expected high
income and dramatically decreasing the number of show times of low income cinema. Therefore, the nonpopulist
cinema both major studios and Independent companies confront difficult market opportunities.
4. Audience Preferable.
One remarkable point that limits the diversity and growth of Thai film industry is Thai audience
preferable. Thai audience prefers seeing specific genre, especially Comedy and Ghost Film. For example,
Pee Mak (2013) from GTH Studio gains domestic income greater than US$33 million. The mass audience
interest also shares benefit to the other comedies movies, despite of not high quality cinema. The great
number of Thai audience prefers entertainment media than intellectual, by culturally positioning cinema
as escapism. The static preference of mass audience makes market size in Thailand freeze. In addition,
Thai commercial studio pays rarely attention to Art House cinema both in term of opening new market or
pushing to international competition. With capitalist mainstream controls chance of production, now Thai
domestic film production meets serious motionless market.
• The Fierce Competition among Filmmakers
As mentioned above, market size of Thai feature film is not growth comparing to amount of yearly
undergraduates in film. It is only less than 5% of them can access to film industry, including scriptwriter,
film management, camera work, and post-production. In addition, there is also some freelance working
with media industry occasionally and some have their own production house which serve both film and
Film exhibition and competition seems to be is a good channel for students to show their talent and they
serve as a short circuit for them in access to film industry. Many film students have tried very hard to put
their potential in making short-film in order show in public exhibition. Moreover, to develop their
students’ capacity in filmmaking, many universities hire staff from professional filmmakers as guest
lecturers. Hence, these students have a chance to show their ability and talent directly to those people
from film industry. The better support and chances gained by film students make the non-student filmmakers more challenging in access to their chance in film industries because many positions thereseem to be already reserved for these film students.
In commercial film, narrative form and three-act structure are more preferable. This is a main factor that
limits filmmaker’s creativity and variety of films as those film students who want to work with
commercial film will make their film by classical structure. Documentary and alternative structures are
not quite popular because such structure does not interest mainstream production and audience. However,
there are still some alternative filmmakers that are able to access independent film company. The number
is quite low, though.
• The Current Situation of Thai Shot Film !
Now, let’s explore the situation of Thai Short Film and its position in Thai film industry. As mentioned
earlier that there are 2 key players in short film making, which situation is some kind of difference from
Thai film in general:
1. Student Short Films. Most of products come from undergraduates in film, age 18 – 22 years old.
As teenagers, most of contents concern with adolescent’s issue, especially relationship problem, such
as family bond or conflict, friendship, romantic love. All are easy accessible for them.
2. Another Adult’s Short Films. Some of short film makers in this group have proper film education
or work in film production filed and the other come from non – film academic training but are
interested in filmmaking. As more mature, they can express better point of view reflecting social
problem, political issue and personal attitude towards actual social situations, asking the question,
constructing new virtual world or even fulfill the daydream. Their contents are much more varied.
In short, it is clear that position of most Thai Short film both Student Short Film and Adult’s Short Film
are to express or to explore attitude towards relationship, social issue and political change from individual
The Outline of Thailand Films 2
○Box-office in Thailand
At present, most of the cinemas in Thailand are in cinema complexes (=movie theater facility containing several cinemas). Although I do not have data in hand, I believe that 90% of cinemas are located in cinema complexes.
Now, you might think that if there are many cinema complexes in Thailand, the situation is similar with Japan. Its business style is totally different. First, the first public performance of most movies is usually on Thursdays. The duration of theatrical window is set by the week. After the film is released, depending on its box-office revenue, the number of screens and screenings will change every day. What this means is that, you will not be able to know the showtime of the movie you want to see till that morning. Therefore, you need to check the showtime of the movie you want to see on that day, or otherwise you will have a terrible time.
For instance, a movie was shown at five screens, all day in a cinema complex. However, the box-office revenue was less than expected, so the next day it will be shown in three screens, and among the three screens, two screens will only show the movie in the afternoon. But despite of the poor box office revenue, basically a movie will run for one week.
You must keep in mind that basically you will not know in advance whether the movie you want to see will be shown next week (i.e. will be shown after the next Thursday). If you get used to this system, based on the movie’s current number of screens and showtime, you will be able to guess if it will be shown the following week. But when it is a delicate situation, it will become very difficult to predict. Sometime people might say, “If there is a movie you want to see, check its theatrical run.” But basically, it is not possible to predict.
Probably this is why Thai people go to see the movie during the week of its release. Even if it is a blockbuster movie, they will not wait until the cinema is not packed. Usually, more than 50% of the final box-office revenue of the movie is marked during the week of the release. In short, even with the blockbuster movie, the theater is almost completely empty after the second week of its release.
Thailand has better movie appreciation environment than Japan. Although it is limited to urban area, but the number of movie theaters is high. There is always a cinema complex on the top floors of famous shopping malls. In case of the suburban area, many suburban-type shopping malls have movie theaters.
This is only applied to big cities like Bangkok, but some movies’ last showtime is between 11p.m. and midnight. People have enough time to go to the cinema after work. It might be tough to go home after the movie, but this is awesome.
○When the Movie Starts
Many Thai movies already have subtitles upon release which is great for foreigners. I think about 70% of the movies have subtitles. Whether the movie has subtitles or not depends on its showtime. You can check it with the movie theater’s showtime schedule. You can also check whether it was shot on film or digital.
In Japan, you are often forced to see long commercials and trailers before the movie. But it is even longer in Thailand. The average is about 45 minutes. Therefore, many people enter the cinema after 30 minutes of the showtime. When the film honoring the Royal Family of Thailand is shown during the commercial period, all audience would rise. Foreigners who are not aware of this fact will be astonished to see other audience suddenly standing in the cinema. When the Royal Family film is shown, it means that the movie will start soon.
When the movie is over, the audience would immediately stand up and leave the cinema. When the credit roll of the movie starts, even if the last scene was touching, they will not allow you to bask in the afterglow of it. Many movies add their makings in the credit roll, but nobody attempts to watch them. I’m not sure if the creators of blockbuster Pee Mak had this in mind or not, but they put the punch line of the story at the end of the credit roll. Those who watched this movie spread the information, but I’m sure many people left without watching it.
The Outline of Thailand Films１
○A Popular Destination for Japanese
A number of Japanese businessmen and tourists visit Thailand every year. Thailand is a devout Buddhist country. I have once heard that a Buddhist temple in Thailand had the following inquiry, “Can you accept a temple tour for the sons of the Buddhist monks in Japan?” The monk of the Thai temple who heard this request was confused. It is because in Thailand, monks cannot get married. In short, the monk could not understand why a monk had a son. If the monk had children before he entered the Buddhist priesthood, it is another story. In Thailand, monks are not allowed to touch women in the first place.
○What are Thai Movies Like?
Now, let’s talk about the movies in Thailand. In Japan, we rarely see a Thai movie released in theaters. Hence, very few people are aware of Thai movies. What are Thai movies like? When you ask somebody, “What kind of image do you have of Thai movies?” and most people will say “action movies.” I believe this is because of the image of the movie “Mach (Ong Bak)” which was released in Japan in 2003. People who has slight knowledge of Asian movies will answer “horror movies.” There are a number of horror movies produced in Thailand. Thailand is famous as the horror movie nation.
However, both understandings are not accurate. Most of Thai films are comedies, and then comes horror and action movies. When it comes to romantic movies, it isa different story. It is because most movies have romance essence. Comedies are not just purely comedies but also include horror or romantic movies with comedic elements. Recently, the number is slightly declining, but in the past almost 90% of the movies had comedic elements. There is a classic movie, Bridge of Love (1987) which was also showed in Japan. This movie was based on a true story about a couple whose parents did not allow them to get married and chose to kill themselves. It is a very sad story. However, in the climax scene where both families try to stop their suicide is completely written as a comedy. This really astonished me. In these days, there are films without any comedic elements, but still 70% of them have comedic elements.
It is said that the four major elements of Thai movies are comedy, gay, ghost and toilet scene. Well, this is just my personal observation. You will easily notice that there are many gay people in Thai movies. There are many gay people in real life, so I think this is natural.
Ghosts also appear a lot in Thai films. But most of them are not scary. This is because, in general, yokai (Japanese ghost) do not appear in Thailand. In other words, the ghosts look like real people. Moreover, makeup techniques in Thailand are still developing, so most of the ghosts just have white face powder on their faces. Also, they have feet.
Finally, there are a lot of toilet scenes. People rush into the toilet to avoid wetting their pants, and they ease nature in a big noise. Not only the comedic actors but popular young actresses act such a scene.
『Ong Bak: Muay Thai Warrior』