HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]:

Sniper 3 - Hollywood shoots in Northern Thailand

Education of AIDS orphans the aim of Kids Ark Foundation Charity Dinner

Discover the Hill tribes without climbing mountains at Chiangmai Tribal Museum

Bear’s Den enjoys official opening at last

Sniper 3 - Hollywood shoots in Northern Thailand

Tom Berenger looks forward to sampling Chiang Mai

Story by Marion Vogt
Photos by Michael Vogt

It is not every day that a Hollywood movie is being produced in Chiang Mai. Not yet every day, as the unit production manager Chris Lowenstein from ‘Living Films’ Chiang Mai assured us. But more and more productions are using Thailand and its logistics to benefit from the beautiful scenery and the easy going, yet professional mentality of the Thai people.

Living Films Chiang Mai has over 140 people on their payroll, and 30 percent of the crew is from Chiang Mai. The latest movie production, ‘Sniper 3’, features Tom Berenger, once again as Master Gunnery Sergeant Thomas Becket, who this time does not have to take out a drug lord but has to go after a friend he thought had lost his life a long time ago.

Sniper 3 will be an action movie with the background of the Vietnam veterans, the famous labyrinthine tunnel networks of Chu Chi, political plots going right to people in very high positions in the United States and of course the questions: ‘Will Becket, the one in a million shooter, miss? And will the guilty parties be brought to justice?’

Most of the scenes, set in Ho Chi Minh City, were actually shot in Chiang Mai, Lampang and surrounding areas. Only one of the bigger helicopter scenes will be shot at a military base near Bangkok.

Chiangmai Mail interviewed the star Tom Berenger. He said that this is his third visit to Asia but his first to Thailand and Chiang Mai, and that he is enjoying it tremendously. Before this he only had the chance to go to the Philippines and Japan, where ‘Platoon’ was shot. In the role as the battle-scarred Sergeant Barnes in Platoon (1986) he received an Oscar nomination and earned a Golden Globe in the category ‘Best supporting actor’.

Asking him if he enjoys being Sergeant Thomas Becket once again, he said, “Yes of course … I know Thomas Becket pretty well by now.” He went on, “You know, I never did ride on an elephant and I am looking forward to trying it while I am here.”

Chiang Mai is definitely looking forward to welcoming more Hollywood stars. The talented ‘extras’ of Chiang Mai, as well as the professional production teams, are looking forward to showing their talents to cinema audiences all over the world.

Sniper 3 returns Tom Berenger to the role of the world’s best sniper.

Hollywood star Tom Berenger, playing Master Gunnery Sergeant Thomas Becket, during an interview with Chiangmai Mail.

The Washington bridesmaids are all from Chiang Mai. From left, Karin, Marinda and Fiona receive make up.

Some of the ‘Chiang Mai extras’, as bridesmaids and best men.

Only the best lighting is good enough for the ‘Washington wedding scenery’.

The film crew works long, hard hours during the production of a film.

Everybody has seen one of these before and hopefully Chiang Mai will see much more in the future.

Patience and time are the most important things you need if you want to be - even an extra - in the movies.

It’s almost like a real ‘society gala’; even the same faces.

Tom Berenger reads his lines while the bride and groom wait in full make up and dresses.

Education of AIDS orphans the aim of Kids Ark Foundation Charity Dinner

Story by Marion Vogt
Photos Michael Vogt

Saturday night was a sold out affair at The House. The Kids Ark foundation proudly presented its first Gala Dinner, which included many activities throughout the evening to keep everybody entertained. After cocktails, everyone moved to the gallery for the opening speeches of Princess Jao Duan Dueng na Chiangmai, H.E. Jan Nordlander, the Swedish ambassador; and the chairwoman of the Foundation, Rita Gustafsson.

Princess Jao Duan Dueng na Chiangmai listens intently as H.E. Jan Nordlander, the Swedish ambassador talks about how the motivated people at Kids’ Ark are building a better future.

Rita Gustafsson, who is also the project manager for the Kid’s Ark in Thailand, emphasized the frightening problems of AIDS orphans, their non-existing education, but also thanked the people for the support they received from the Chiang Mai and Swedish community during the last four years since Kids Ark was established.

(From left) Jumpol Chutima, Henry Quick, Suwanna Sirirath, MD Chansilp Motors; and Jennifer Dyson from Living Space

She mentioned the 169 godparents they have by now, who give financial support to these children and that in some cases even personal relations are built up with the aim to help them with higher education. Already Kid’s Ark has built day care centers and dormitories.

Rita said, “People with poor education are prone to ignorance and do irresponsible things; therefore we are so happy to have you here tonight because it means that more children can be supported with education. Let this be an evening in the name of the children and youngsters.”

Three society ladies admire Supachet Bhumakarn’s paintings - this month’s artist at The House Gallery.

H.E. Jan Nordlander, the Swedish ambassador reminisced about his own childhood, growing up without worries, which is what every child should be able to have. A proper childhood! No worries if there will be enough to eat, if or when schooling is possible but a joyful time growing up. He also commended about how the motivated people in the Kid’s Ark are breaking down the barriers of poverty by improving education, building self-esteem and ultimately a better future for the children and their respective communities.

The Jazz Band spiced up the atmosphere at the end

The dinner was served inside The House, and was to its impeccable standards. The Sabai Band entertained, moving from table to table with entertainment which suited all age groups, from Ajarn Xavier’s magical flute to classical piano music and a trendy fashion show by the Ginger models wearing the newest summer evening wear.

The evening closed with an auction of donated jewelry and three paintings by famous Stockholm artist Erland Cullberg, and as another musical highlight, a voice recital by Tianchai Sooktiang from The Voice Studio and his group.

It was a fun and fulfilling evening which ended long after midnight.

The Magic of Love, a truly fitting last song by (from left) Panit Somana, Book Kittawadhana and Voice Studio MD Tianchai Sooktiang.

One of the beautiful Ginger models during the fashion show

The lucky bidder for the painting by famous Stockholm artist Erland Cullberg was Mr. Mortimer (right), shown here with Hans Christensen from The House.

Some just couldn’t resist trying out the little knick-knacks which are as always displayed at Ginger.

Rita Gustafsson (right) thanked everybody as Kittiya Kantha (left) from The Rydges Hotel Chiang Mai, and Hans B. Christensen from The House listen in.

Almost midnight but everybody anxiously awaited the auction.

Princess Jao Duan Dueng na Chiangmai (let) listens to Rita Gustafsson’s opening address.

Rita and Holm Gustafsson (background, standing) thanked everyone. Sitting next to Jumpol Chutima (seated center) are Anchalee Kalmapijit, operation director Maesa Elephant Camp and her friend; David and Krista Schreiber from Bangkok; left of Jumpol is Somrith Haikhum, president of Chiangmai Guide Association and Suwanna Sirirath, MD Chansilp Motors.

Discover the Hill tribes without climbing mountains at Chiangmai Tribal Museum

Cory Croymans

Chiangmai is a beautiful city with a long history and age-old traditions, a place with a hundred and one thrills, one of which was my discovery of the Tribal museum.

Entrance gate to Hill Tribe village

Visiting the Tribal Museum is worth the trouble of finding it. This museum has over 1000 objects, 60 percent of which are displayed over four floors in a rather unusual looking building. These objects were largely collected over the last 30 years by researchers from the Tribal Research Institute and concerned private individuals.

The exhibits include a wide variety of baskets, ceremonial stringed and wind instruments, drums, farming implements, hunting traps and weapons, intricate silver jewelry and colorful costumes. These examples come from the nine major tribal groups covering 970,000 people including the Karen, Hmong, Yao, Lisu, Lahu, Akha, Khamu and Lua. Short cultural descriptions, photographs and histories of each group give you a better understanding of each hill tribe.

Tribal head cover

On the top floor of the four story building a number of special topic exhibits feature specific tribal crafts, development projects and the involvement of the Thai Royal Family with hill tribe welfare.

This museum conveys a sense of traditional and modern tribal village life through crafts made by villagers, through good photographs and clear exhibit descriptions with a background of traditional tribal music and chanting.

It is very likely that this museum will become increasingly more important in the future. With the rapid economic and cultural changes that are occurring in the region, it will probably not be possible to see many of the objects anywhere else and it also serves as a resource center for tribal cultures as well as a referral center for people seeking more specialized information.

Lisu man

Our outing was an experience to cherish except for one small disappointment. When visiting the basement shop which is supposed to sell tribal handicrafts, I was saddened by the fact that it not only offers tribal products at very reasonable prices but also batik and embroidered products which are made in Sankampeng.

The Chiangmai Tribal Museum is now in the process of implementing an outdoor exhibit of hill tribe cultures. This exhibit would consist of traditional houses representing the major tribal groups. It would also feature people using traditional craft skills.

Lisu woman

The Tribal museum is located at the Ratchamagkala Park on Chotana Road (or highway no. 107), only 5 km from Thapae Gate. When you enter this park by highway 107, you should drive on deep inside until you see the unusual four-story building located in the middle of a large lake. There is only one small road sign in English when you have almost reached this building.

You can also access this museum from Canal Road which is actually a much easier way which we only discovered on our way out of this big park. The Tribal Museum is open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Slide show and Video presentations are offered twice a day at 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. or by special request if there are sufficient viewers. Entrance is free but donations are appreciated. Tel. 053/210 872, 221 933.

Bear’s Den enjoys official opening at last

However there were no pandas!

Marion Vogt
Photos Michael Vogt

The newest attraction in Chiang Mai’s pub scene is The Bear’s Den. Nice, easy to remember, and you can’t miss the illuminated sign on Jarern Rasd. Road.

The mood was frolicsome...

For people who saw it being built and wondered if it would ever be finished, a pleasant surprise is waiting. It did get finished! The air-conditioned huge main area has a massive square bar that takes up almost half the space, with decor chosen to give that warm feeling of the British pubs.

The Bear’s Den opens out into a garden terrace, overlooking the Ping River where, on this night, a cool breeze was felt all night. It is a relaxed venue, with an extended pub menu and where ladies can be seen without being thought of as easy pickings. On Sundays, a home roast will be served and live sports events can be seen on the big screen.

We made it! David and Anne Strudwicke, two of the owners celebrate!

The guests at the opening night party included business people, regulars seen at all the different places around town, golfers and cricketers and those who just wanted to see what’s new. During the night, David and Anne’s spontaneous ‘ladies drinks’ creations were the hit of the night, a night that was enjoyed by everyone.

Guests sitting in the garden in a great mood!

Flowers from all these beautiful women who came to check out the end result.