“Lively ‘kaen’” – provoking movie-goers to the 5th Kaen International Film Festival, and the first Isan Drive-in Cinema

August 25-30, 2021 – Khon Kaen University by the Art, Culture and Economy Section joined Thai Film Director Association, Focus Arena, Khon Kaen Province, Khon Kaen Municipality, Ministry of Culture, Ministry of Tourism and Sports, Thailand Tourism Authority, Khon Kaen Office, Cho Thawee Public Company, Thai Film Network and Lao PDR to hold the 5th Khon Kaen International Film Festival (‘Kaen Haw’). The event was arranged online, through the Kaen International Film Festival Fan Page and Zoom Meeting, as well as the Mixed-Mode, opening up a chance for movie lovers to participate and be fully exposed to different films and activities.

The opening event of the 5th Kaen International Film Festival and the “Drive-in Cinema” was held on August 28, 2021. Dr. Somsak Jungtrakoon, Khon Kaen Governor presided over the ceremony. Assoc. Prof. Niyom Wongpongkham, Ph.D., Vice President of KKU for Art, Culture, and Economy, conveyed the reporting speech. Honorable guests included Mr. Sattha Khochapalayuk. Vice Governor of Khon Kaen; Prof. Thidarat Boonmars, Ph.D., Vice President for Innovation and Enterprise; Ajarn Natsamol Tanakulrungsarit, Assistant to KKU President for Special Affairs; KKU administrators; Mr. Apicha Kittisuwan, General Manager of Khon Kaen Focus Arena, Co.Ltd.; famous film directors including: Mr. Thanit Jitnukul, Mr. Pratchaya Pinkaew, Mr. Bandit Thongdee, Mr. Jet Bunyoprakarn; Khon Kaen Province administrators and heads of official departments; and news reporters. The event took place at the Temporary Activity Lawn, Chompon Market, Khon Kaen.

The 5th Kaen International Film Festival was organized as an important activity of Thailand’s film industry. The event was aimed to promote and support the film industry in Isan and Lao PDR and to raise awareness and stimulate people to become interested in films. The festival also promoted the transfer of knowledge and skill in film production. People who are interested in producing films can apply the knowledge in their career. This event received a lot of support from different organizations, both government and private, who see the importance of film production, especially Isan and Lao PDR people. The arising impact will be on the economy and tourism of Khon Kaen, in becoming a Smart City, while at the same time, art and culture of Isan is being nurtured.

The 5th Kaen International Film Festival featured a lot of film-related activities. For instance, the short-film contest under the concept, “One Man Show”, meant to discover good directors; Kaen Star Challenge Contest, to discover new stars who have interesting characteristics for the entertainment sector; film shows and forums on international films in Asia and China; academic forums where directors, academics, film criticizers talked under interesting topics related to present-day situations; and the “Drive-in Cinema”.

Dr. Somsak Jungtrakoon, Khon Kaen Governor said that the 5th Kaen International Film Festival received assistance from many organizations including Khon Kaen University, governmental departments, and Khon Kaen private organizations. The governor then thanked Thai Film Director Association for choosing Khon Kaen for this festival. The Drive-in Cinema was the specific activity of this event, for it was the first time people could watch films in their cars. This also responded to the New Normal life of the province during the spread of Covid-19. The Governor added that the event was expected to build smiles and happiness among Khon Kaen people, and appreciated the organizers and supporters of the festival. It was expected that the film industry in Khon Kaen and Isan would grow as well as tourism and economy through the New Normal. All activities that were arranged were under strict guards against infection of Covid-19 according to the provincial announcements. Now that the Covid-19 in Khon Kaen has a decreasing tendency, Khon Kaen Province was pleased to support and promote all creative activities that would stimulate the economy of the province and the people.

Assoc. Prof. Niyom Wongpongkham, Ph.D., Vice President of KKU for Art, Culture, and Economy said that the 5th Kaen International Film Festival received cooperation by Focus Arena Co. Ltd., Khon Kaen Pattana Muang Co. Ltd., Thailand Tourism Authority, Khon Kaen Office, Thai Film Director Association and the network. This event was organized in a mixed mode style and through Zoom Meeting. There was also live broadcast via Facebook Fan Page. The activities were held On-Site at Focus Arena Khon Kaen and Chompon Market. There were 6 activities: workshop on films, Lan Chang film from Lao PDR, Kaen Star Challenge, Short Film context, forums, and Drive-in Cinema. All of the activities were organized under strict measures to guard against Covid-19 infection. Drive-in Cinema was the first of its kind to be arranged in Khon Kaen and Isan. The 5th Kaen International Film Festival was held under the concept, “Lively Kaen”, to encourage those interested to disseminate the works related to art and culture, as well as to promote film production among the public and the youths.




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