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Ubon Ratchathani Candle Festival

Phuket Film Festival headlines eclectic mix


Ubon Ratchathani Candle Festival

The Wax Candle Procession in Ubon Ratchathani displays the magnificent work done by local craftsmen for Buddhist Lent.
(Photo courtesy of TAT)

As the seasonal monsoon rains descend over the kingdom, it marks the beginning of the Buddhist “rain retreat” and the Buddhist Lent, or “Phansa”, during which all Buddhist monks retreat to the temples. This is also an auspicious time for Buddhist ordinations as it marks a period of spiritual renewal.

Known as “Khao Phansa”, the Buddhist Lent is a time devoted to study and meditation. Buddhist monks remain within the temple grounds and do not venture out for a period of three months starting from the first day of the waning moon of the eighth lunar month (in July) to the fifteenth day of the waxing moon of the eleventh lunar month (in October).

As Ubon Ratchathani province prepares for the Buddhist Lent, men folk, ordained as well as laymen, with artistic skills set about the task of moulding and sculpting Lenten candles. As these works of art are to be presented as Buddhist merit-making offerings, the artisans pour their heart and soul into their craft. Many of these are fine examples of Buddhist art and sculpture. The candle festival is unique to Ubon Ratchathani province and the customs and traditions related to this Buddhist festival have been diligently preserved by local communities. The festival is held this year at At Thung Sri Muang Park and Ubon Ratchathani National Museum. July 1 - 31, 2010. (TAT)


Phuket Film Festival headlines eclectic mix

An eclectic grouping of award winning festival films, the Festival kicks off with the Italian romantic drama, “Per Sophia”. Director Ilaria Paganelli will attend screenings of her film.

Paresh Mokashi’s debut film, Harishchchandrachi Factory will be the Festival’s Opening Film. “Factory” was the Indian submission to the 2010 Academy Awards Foreign Language Films category. Mokashi’s film also begins a Spotlight on Indian Films that have “gone international”. Festival will screen the largest grossing film in India last year, “3 Idiots” and the comedy “Chondi Chok to China” (much of the movie filmed in Thailand).

“We wish to thank the Indian film industry for using Thailand as a film and tv production base,” said Scott Rosenberg, festival director. “We are screening not only Indian films, filmed in Thailand but other international films that have used the wonderful landscapes available in the Kingdom.”

Once such movie, “The Prince and Me 4: The Elephant Adventure” will have its Thailand premiere at PFF followed by a concert by the renowned rap band Thaithanium. Musician/actor Prinya Intachai (who plays Kah in the movie) is a key member of Thaithanium.

On Saturday and Sunday, June 5 & 6 two benefit screenings will take place, the movie “Soi Dogs” benefitting the Phuket Soi Dog Foundation and the UNDP produced “Anatomy of a Recovery”, benefiting the Chumchonthai Foundation (who work with Sea Gypsies affected by the 2004 Tsunami).

The Australian musical/comedy “Bran Nue Dae”will screen Monday as will Adrian Grenier’s “Teenage Paparazzo”. This will be an international premiere for “TP”, the first time it has played outside the USA.

Other highlights include the Vietnamese action/thriller “Bay Rong” (Clash), the controversial USA/Cambodian documentary “Who Killed Chea Vicea” and the Thailand premiere of “Bitter/Sweet”. Two classic French movies will screen, “Breathless” and “Princes et Princesses”.

“Many movies have receptions/parties attached”, said Rosenberg. “We are trying to keep to our objective of having PFF a “sanook” (fun) festival.” The Festival’s Gala Opening and Awards will be held on Sunday, June 5th at the Royal Phuket Marina. Event is co-hosted by Global-i-care and Skippers Restaurant.

The Film Festival will also have an Alternative Lifestyle Day on Wednesday, June 9 screening Gus Van Sant’s “Milk” and the classic “My Own Private Idaho”.

A Festival of Short Films screening 5 shorts from around the world will also play.

New this year will be a Meet the Directors series of films: a small intimate group of film lovers watching movies with the film’s director in a beautiful open air location overlooking the ocean at Yamu.

Rounding out the Festival will be the Phuket premiere of the omnibus “Sawasdee Bangkok” and the World Premi่re of acclaimed Thai Director Yuthlert Sipapak’s Friday Killers. Director Yuthlert will screen his “Director’s Cut” of the movie.

Additional information on movies and ticket prices can be found at www.phuket Tickets go on sale May 16 at the Coliseum Cineplex in Phuket Town.

Major supporters of the Phuket Film Festival include the Thai Ministry of Culture, Vijitt Resort, TwoVillas, Yamu, Phuket Beer, Siam Winery, the Phuket Gazette, Global i Care. Boncafe, Wahoo Boats, Malaysian Airlines, Finestitch & Co., M Pictures Goodwill Traders and others.

The Phuket Film Festival runs from June 4-13. (PR)