The very first film shown in Thailand, a 1897 play that went by the name of “Parisian Cinematograph”, had limited audiences made of wealthy aristocrats and businessmen due to the high price of tickets.
Fast forward almost 30 years and Thailand saw the first Thai-foreign co-production taking place by the hands of Henry McRay, an American Producer from Universal Productions that got granted the Royal permission to film the love story entitled “Miss Suwan”.
“Thailand’s geographical and cultural diversity provides the opportunity to cover a wide range of film productions.”
With its diverse geographical features, Thailand has the ability to offer a wide range of landscapes such as coastlines, reefs, rivers, lakes, mountains and green hills. Moreover Thailand also features exotic and interesting historical sites, which have been used by many foreign production companies. Such well known films as The Killing Fields, Good Morning Vietnam, Heaven and Earth, Mortal Combat, Tomorrow never dies, The Beach to name but a few. Over 400 foreign shoots were done in Thailand in year 2000 alone, just for example.
“The Thailand government is open and friendly to international production teams”
As a matter of fact, the Thai film industry has advanced to international film standards and evolved into a real hub for the Industry boasting standard equipment and suitable studio facilities. “We welcome production companies to come to Thailand not just because of our locations, but to utilize Thai-based production services such as set construction, experienced crew, stunts people, costume and make-up artists, equipment and post production work including sound and digital services,” adds Thailand Film Office director Ubolwan Sucharitakul.
The voice of the Thailand Film Office is of maximum importance when talking about Foreign shoots happening onto the territory. The Film Act B.E. 2551 (year 2008) is states clearly that: any foreign filmmaker wishing to shoot film including documentary, music video, commercial, TV program and docudrama in Thailand, has to apply for permission from Thailand Film Office. Failure to seek the permission will subject violators to punitive fines and prison terms as stated in the Act.
“Foreign productions coming to Thailand needs to hire a local coordinator to obtain permits”
a nutshell, any foreign filmmaker is supposed to hire a local coordinator
(meaning either a Company or an individual) officially registered with the
Thailand Film Office to obtain the necessary permits. Local coordinators are
not only representing foreign filmmakers, but are also
responsible for representing the foreign film Company or individual in any matter arising both during and after the completion of shooting in Thailand.
A shooting film permit grants the film-makers to legally shoot in Thailand; however specific location such as National Parks, Historical Parks, Royal properties or certain Religious Sites will require separate permits. All arrangements should be made as far as possible in advance of shooting dates, as the bureaucratic procedure will take up their own processing time.
Upon permit granted, a Monitoring Officer will be then appointed and is sent from the concerned government agency at the shooting location(s) to monitor, give advice on and to green light filming content. Again, filming is not allowed, under any circumstances, without acknowledgement of the Monitoring Officer.
While the process might look daunting, experienced Production Companies have done this repeatedly and gained the necessary experience to guarantee a smooth shooting experience.
Mbrella Films, a Production Company based in Bangkok and with operations in Southeast Asia can assist you with all the above. To find out more about their range of production services for features films, commercials, TV series, documentaries, music videos and branded content please visit www.mbrellafilms.com.