Bangkok Film Festival Stung by Censorship in Inaugural Year;
Event Offers Array of New American Work

by Peter Hall

American and European independent films are rare in the Kingdom
of Thailand, one of many growing overseas film markets glutted with
Hollywood product. So it might not seem surprising that the first-ever
Bangkok Film Festival managed to kick off a fierce, continuing debate
about Thailand's 58-year-old regime of movie censorship, complete with
a street demonstration, conflicting police raids, and incalculable intrigue.

What's striking about the controversy is that, though the festival
actively solicited "underground" movies, as well as Thai, Asian, and
Cannes/Sundance fare, no American indies were banned in Bangkok.