Pattaya launches bid to be named U.N. ‘City of Film’

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Looking for more ways to put Pattaya on the map with mainstream tourists, city officials have a launched an effort to win United Nations designation as a “City of Film.”

Mayor Itthiphol Kunplome and Pritsana Pongthadsirikul, head of the Culture Ministry’s Contemporary Art and Culture Office, announced plans to nominate Pattaya for the UNESCO award already given to Sydney, Australia and to Bradford, England.

Pritsana Pongthadsirikul, head of the Culture Ministry’s Contemporary Art and Culture Office, announces plans to nominate Pattaya for the United Nations designation as a “City of Film.” Pritsana Pongthadsirikul, head of the Culture Ministry’s Contemporary Art and Culture Office, announces plans to nominate Pattaya for the United Nations designation as a “City of Film.”

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 Thai government is making bids to win Phuket certification as a city for fine food and Pattaya for film making.

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, cinematographic legacy,” such as archives, museums and private collections.

In their comments, Thai officials appear to be leaning 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.

Itthiphol, for example, noted this year’s Thai film-industry awards were staged at Central Festival Pattaya Beach.

Pritsana said the government wants to win UNESCO honors for Pattaya because rapid economic development followed Bradford and Sydney’s selection as film cities. Bradford, however, is home to the U.K.’s largest film festival and its national film museum. Sydney, meanwhile, is the hub for Australia’s movie industry, hosts the Southern Hemisphere’s largest film festival and has a landmark featured in dozens of films.

Itthiphol said Pattaya is still putting the final touches on its application, but hopes to send it to the Chonburi governor’s office for endorsement soon.