Pattaya’s mayor continued to push for Pattaya to be named a UNESCO “City of Film”, even though the United Nations organization has given it to only two locations globally.
In a Feb. 14 interview with Radio Thailand Chonburi, Poramet Ngampichet again banged the drum for Pattaya’s decade-old, long-shot quest to win international acknowledgement. In September, the national Office of Contemporary Art and Culture had submitted Pattaya’s application to join the UNESCO Creative Cities Network. There has been no action on it by the organization.
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. 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.
Pattaya has none of that. And, currently, there are only two cities of film: Bradford, England and Sydney, Australia.
Pattaya held two hearings on the idea a decade ago where experts popped former mayor Itthiphol Kunplome’s balloon, telling him Pattaya wasn’t close to meeting UNESCO’s qualifications.
Burapha University consultant Priyaporn Sukhsakul told city officials in 2012 that Pattaya needed to build an image palatable to the film industry. Simply claiming the city is Thailand’s top tourist destination was not sufficient for UNESCO when Pattaya officials unsuccessfully applied in 2011.
Poramet said that the government is hyping promotion of Thailand’s “soft power” to make its “Thainess” and creative industries widely known, so concerted efforts have been made to integrate businesses to foster a film industry in Pattaya.