The Thai Embassy yesterday announced that the 2015 Thai Film Festival held in Cambodia will look to promote Thai movies in the country, as well as encourage movie cooperation between film producers in the neighbouring nations.
Jiranan Wongmongkol, director of Foreign Trade Promotion at the embassy, said that Cambodia was a good market for Thai movies and that increased cooperation will help Cambodian filmmakers upgrade their skills by partnering with their Thai counterparts.
“I feel optimistic that the movie industry of the two countries will be stronger, once the two countries have a good cooperation with each other,” she said.
The film festival, which will be held from May 21-25 in Phnom Penh, will look to showcase Thai cinema to Cambodians, with the aim to boost interest in Thailand’s movie industry in the Kingdom.
Film production companies from Thailand will also be in attendance at a seminar on May 21 in Phnom Penh that is intended to build a network with local film makers.
In the last two years, the number of moviegoers at theatres has steadily increased, given the expanding number of screens, especially in Phnom Penh, said Sao Sokny, general manager at Major Cineplex.
According to Sokny, of the six theatres actively operating in Phnom Penh, 200 movies are played a year, of which, he estimates, 150 are Hollywood movies, 15 are from Thailand and 12 are Cambodian.
A Hollywood movie, he said, can sell around 2,000 tickets on average, 20,000 for a Thai movie, and Cambodian movies can attract about 40,000 visitors.
“The industry is just starting in Cambodia and there is still big room to grow more,” he said.
“Visitors are now enjoying their time at the cinema with good quality movies,” Sokny added.
Despite this increase in movie screenings, there are still very few Cambodian films shown in cinemas. In the cases where they are screened, it is largely for the local market and they are rarely seen overseas.
Sin Chansaya, director of the Cinema Department at the Ministry of Culture and Fine Art, said that Cambodia filmmakers will spend around $50,000 to make a movie and this limited budget is one of the major reasons why quality is low.
“While the number of local movies is just a few and the quality is less attractive for visitors, the theatre owner has to import foreign movies to satisfy customers’ preference,” Chansaya said.
“Local productions are facing some major challenges, including the lack of human resources and limited budget to film a good movie.”
Currently the big cinema theatres are located in Phnom Penh and include Major Cineplex, Legend Cinema, Platinum Cineplex and Lux.
The five films to be screened at the festival will be shown at Major Cineplex for free.