Pattaya revives bid to make Pattaya U.N. ‘city of film’

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Pattaya officials are launching a new effort to win United Nations designation as a “city of film.”

Burapha University academics hosted simultaneous seminars at Pattaya City Hall Aug. 9 with public- and private-sector representatives on the proposal to again nominate Pattaya for the UNESCO award already given to Sydney, Australia and to Bradford, England.

Mayor Itthiphol Kunplome submitted an application to the U.N. organization in July 2011, which was turned down. Undeterred, city officials are looking at a new strategy that splits film-industry development between the public and private quarters.

Naowasit Rakbumrung, vice director of Burapha’s Academic Office, is spearheading a second effort to win a United Nations designation as a “city of film.” Naowasit Rakbumrung, vice director of Burapha’s Academic Office, is spearheading a second effort to win a United Nations designation as a “city of film.”

Naowasit Rakbumrung, vice director of Burapha’s Academic Office, met with private sector representatives while communications professor Rachanee Wongusmit worked with city and Chonburi provincial officials. They reviewed regulations and features required to win international acclaim, arguing Thailand has built a foundation for filmmaking with its culture, landscape and art. They said Thailand’s offerings were at least as good as other countries and noted several movies have been filmed in Pattaya.

Film is one of seven categories established by UNESCO’s Cultural Cities Network to honor “centers of excellence” in literature, music, crafts and folk art, design, media arts, gastronomy and film. The published qualifications to win a “city of film” designation, however, don’t favor Pattaya.

UNESCO says a city of film must have “notable infrastructure related to film-making,” such as movie studios; “notable links to the production, distribution and commercialization of films,” and “cinematographic legacy,” such as archives, museums and private collections.

In their first bid, Thai officials leaned heavily on lesser prerequisites, such as being a host to film festivals and screenings, being the birthplace or residence of film creators, and having the city depicted on film.

An attending official from the Culture Ministry’s Contemporary Art and Culture Office claimed Bradford won because its National Museum of Communications and Film Institute had the first IMAX 3D cinema and its Picturevill Cinema is regarded as the best in England. Sydney won designation, he said, because of its unique landscape and is home to three large studios.