What a blast! The 7th Bangkok Film Festival (24 - 30.9.2009) was indeed a red-carpet event! The seventh year of the Bangkok International Film Festival could be recognized as the seventh heaven of film lovers...
My co-host Nicholas Snow, a charismatic TV presenter from Hollywood, and I featured the glamorous festival for our new Web-TV-Show "Nathalie & Nicholas - bringing LIFE to LIFESTYLE", which can be seen on YouTube and on our websites. Nicholas is an actor himself and he just finished his movie ‘Last Tango in Bangkok’ which will be on screen early next year (NotesFromHollywood.com).
And here are some more impressions and photographs of the event and of our TV team (Nathalie & Nicholas with producer and cameraman Bryan Hall from Australia)
Bangkok in the spotlight
The spectacular festival, co-hosted by the Tourism Authority of Thailand and the Federation of National Film Associations of Thailand, delivered more than 80 exciting films, glamorous red-carpet events and numerous occasions to chat with famous directors, writers and actors from Hollywood and other parts of the world. Over the last few years the festival has attracted many of cinema’s biggest names. Luminaries such as Thailand regular Oliver Stone (who previously filmed 'Alexander' here), Michael Douglas , British actor Christopher Lee, American thesp Willem Defoe and Jean Claude van Damme, to name just a few, have all been recent guests. In 2006, Her Royal Highness (HRH) Princess Ubol Rattana presented French actress Catherine Deneuve with a Lifetime Achievement Award. The 60-something-year-old star, whose screen credits include 'Belle de Jour' and 'Dancer in the Dark', was among a host of other famous names at the week-long event.
This year, James (‘Jim’) Belushi, Gary Daniels and Josef (‘Joe’) Cannon pretty much headed up the list of the familiar but there were also some hot new talent dropping in on Bangkok to take part in the festival. Olivia Thirlby (« The Secret »), Scout Taylor Compton (« Halloween »), Kyle Gallner (« Haunting in Connecticut ») and Sung Kang (« Live free or die hard ») are all rising young stars with big futures ahead.
We were interviewing Rachel Nichols, fresh from G.I.Joe and Star Treck (“What I love most about Thailand? Green Curry...”), film producer Tom Waller who is in post-production with ‘The Prince and Me 4’ (“Thailand has touted itself as an ideal film location with varied locations and great value for money”) and action star Gary Daniels, a real-life kick-boxing champion (“I am a Bruce Lee devotee and I come to Thailand regularly to train Muay Thai”). With rugged good-looks, a muscular build and a charming personality, it was a natural for Daniels to move from the world of fighting to that of acting. With more than 50 movies under his belt as both an actor and producer, he has worked with many of the biggest stars of the genre. Coming up in 2010: ‘The Expendables’ with Sylvester Stallone.
Jim Belushi has been working in film and television since 1977 and is best known for his roles in Salvador (directed by Oliver Stone) and Red Heat (co-starring Arnold Schwarzenegger) and his own long running TV comedy show ‘According to Jim’. It was his first visit to Thailand and he seemed to particularly enjoy the “Thai Night” and the spectacular show at ‘Siam Niramit’ Theatre, one of the largest stage productions in the world with 150 performers and over 500 costumes (Siamniramit.com).
Other glitzy, by-invitation-only events included the Opening Gala, Director's Night, and Hollywood Night. Highlight was the Royal Reception and 'Golden Kinnaree Awards' & Closing Ceremony on September 30, hosted by HRH Princess Ubol Ratana. She looked stunning in her signal red ball gown and bejewelled earrings - every inch a fairy tale princess.
See more VIPs and the "Who's Who" in this photo gallery:
Jim & Joe’s private Horror Movies
However, things weren’t so peaceful behind the velvet curtains and spectacular cinema scenes. At some point reality catched up with Jim, Joe & Co. I avoided asking James Belushi about his book “Real Men: According to Jim” in which he reveals what it was like to lose his brother John (who died from an accidental overdose of cocaine and heroine at the age of 33) and pursue a career of his own while constantly being reminded of his brother's talents..
German director Werner Herzog is under fire with ‘Bad Lieutenant’, BIFF’s opening movie starring Nicholas Cage, Val Kilmer and Eva Mendez. Film maker Abel Ferrara has accused Herzogof producing a remake of his original film of 1992. I personally don't like Herzog’s film at all, despite praise from the ‘New York Times’.
Film critic Manohla Dargis wrote: "In this brightly lighted nightmare, a post-Katrina New Orleans that might have been conceived by Hieronymus Bosch but could come to the screen only through the feverish imaginings of Mr. Herzog, a dead man’s soul dances near his body and googly-eyed iguanas trade seemingly knowing looks with the pop-eyed lieutenant. To watch Mr. Cage melt with pleasure as he lights up his “lucky crack pipe” or seize up with spasmodic giggles, is to understand that Mr. Herzog has again found a performer as committed to representing unspeakable human will as Klaus Kinski, the star of Herzog masterworks like “Aguirre, the Wrath of God.” Here Mr. Cage and Mr. Herzog take you into a hell that leads straight to movie heaven". (Manohla Dargis, N.Y.T.)
Well, go and see it and make up your own mind! 'Chacun à son goût'...there is no accounting for taste.
During the whole week I was mainly hanging out with Josef Cannon, a veteran of films like, Wildcats, Star Trek, Crime Scene Investigation and the popular TV-Series Las Vegas. Together with his actor-friends Adam Karst (former Sky marshal in the Israeli Army) and Joshi Haas (top model from Germany) he’s actually starring in the latest Jean Claude Van Damme opus ‘The Eagle Path’ (Cannonkarst.com).
Ironically, just like JCVD’s destiny in the film, the past is still haunting Joe. Against his will he was forced to perform in a ‘real life thriller’ when he couldn’t stop the abduction of his beloved daughter Shelby one decade ago. How far will a father go to find his child, kidnapped by a women who used to be his wife? Like in a blockbuster film he will fight to the bitter end, of course!
While we were surrounded by dressed-up members of international high society at the BIFF Closing Gala (held at the 5-Star Chatrium Suites), Josef spoke to me with tears in the eyes about his search and ten year court battle to find his girl. “It was literally an impossible task as meanwhile the non-custodial mother has used the identities of a deceased child taken from a graveyard tombstone in order to give my daughter a new name and to flee the U.S. authorities. That’s what we found out later ». Former 007 James Bond star Pierce Brosnan helped his friend Cannon to raise awareness of the case, and finally the tragic story had a happy ending. Maybe it was Brosnan's appearance that led to a woman on vacation in Scotland reading the article written about them and recognizing a picture of little Shelby Nicole Cannon as that of a child in her son's class back in Liverpool, England.
In his book “Don’t worry, Daddy’s coming!” Josef Cannon shares his incredible journey of peaks and valleys, and he adds: “ I was able to fight for justice and now I encourage other people to do the same. Through my films I am sending out this message to the world. That’s why I’m a producer now”!
Interesting people, memorable films, lavish buffets, lots of drinks and fun parties..all in all, the Bangkok Film Festival was a blast! Thanks to producer Bryan Hall, our TV-Team was able to capture some grandiose moments on film for our own movie. "In the past we've individually covered events including the Academy Awards, the Emmy Awards, the UNESCO Gala and many more”, says my co- host Nicholas, who is very excited about our "Nathalie &Nicholas" pairing. “Now we’re at the Film Festival in Bangkok and together on those red carpets! Well, let's just say, the paparazzi took notice and our worldwide viewers will as well..". So stay tuned!
This feature has been published in C-Holiday Magazine (November Edition 2009), distributed on Koh Samui, Phuket (selected hotels) and in the Bangkok Airways Lounge at 'Bangkok International Airport'. See PDF on my websites!
Q-Bar & Bed Supperclub, Sukhumvit Soi 11. (Stylish crowd, roll up to the chic scene) Demo, Thonglor Soi 10 (Berlin/NYC warehouse style - underground feel next to Funky Villa) Circle, Soi RuamRudi (Restaurant/Bar. Every Friday - ‘Model Night’) Narcissus, 112 Sukhumvit Soi 23 (Known as ‘Narz. BKK’s top discotheque, international DJ’s.) Glow , 96/4-5 Sukhumvit Soi 23 (Intimate ‘boutique nightclub’, personalized service, fun parties)
That's where we were hanging out during the whole week - after work... :-)