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INTRODUCTION

What is the first thing that comes to your mind when raised the topic of the Thai entertainment industry? Maybe a good horror movie or a Romcom. In the past few decades, Thai entertainment, especially film, and series have become more well-known abroad, with a number of them winning awards at major film festivals. For instance, One For The Road which nominated as Thailand’s entry for Best International Feature Film at the 95th Oscars, and I Told Sunset About You (aka Plae Rak Chan Duai Chai Thoe) which won an international Drama of the Year from Seoul International Drama Awards 2021.

However, there are several arguments that occur from time to time on when the Thai entertainment industry is outdated and produce low-quality content with multiple examples of Thai soap opera. In this article, we will dive into what is happening in the Thai entertainment industry, what Thai entertainment missteps to compete with the international market and how we should improve our presence to receive more reputation.  

THAI ENTERTAINMENT INDUSTRY

So, how Thai entertainment industry become the Thai entertainment industry as it is today? Let’s trace back to the early days of Thai cinema. According to the Thai Film Archive (2021), The cinema of Thailand dates back to the early days of filmmaking, when King Chulalongkorn’s 1897 visit to Bern, Switzerland was recorded by François-Henri Lavancy-Clarke. The film was then brought to Bangkok, where it was shown. The Thai Royal Family and local businesspeople were more interested in film, therefore they began importing filmmaking equipment and showing international films. Local film production began in the 1920s, and the Thai film industry experienced its first “golden age” in the 1930s with the opening of several studios.

Following the Second World War, the industry experienced a renaissance, producing hundreds of films on 16 mm film, many of which were intense action movies. Chalong Pakdivijit was the most well-known action director of the 1970s. With his 1973 action movie “GOLD,” Chalong, also known internationally as P. Chalong or Philip Chalong, became the first Thai director to successfully enter the international market and turn a profit (S.T.A.B.).

In the 1980s and 1990s, Hollywood competition brought the Thai film industry to a low point. However, by the end of the decade, Thailand had its “new wave,” with action hero Tony Jaa and directors, for example Nonzee Nimibutr, Pen-Ek Ratanaruang, and Apichatpong Weerasethakul being praised at international film festivals.

WHAT IS THE PROBLEM ?

  • Thai movies or series are not realistic

For example in this particular role, the actress is sick, but their face is full of makeup, even though it is supposed to look pale. It reflects the beauty standard in which Thai movies or series get used to this aesthetic image rather than sticking to realistic events.

Or in the Villain role in the Thai series is more likely no job where the audience cannot predict due to the fact that if the directors mentioned about the occupation, people who are involved in that industry will complain. The Thai entertainment industry’s perception is to only present optimistic sides resulting in creating stereotypes. 

Another example,

The scene where the protagonist arrives to pick up the heroine to escape the enemy is the one that receives the most attention. Looking carefully, the sequence that plays shows that the hero’s car is still moving while the heroine jumps inside via an open window, manages to get into the car without any problems, and then turns around to kill the bad men once more. It is an unrealistic situation that obviously does not exist in real life for sure and it is impossible to jump inside through a window. In conclusion, a lot of audiences are paying attention to this scene because it is not realistic at all.

  • Director’s perception is too narrow

The majority of Thai series are more likely to be soap operas as the TV director thinks that this style of series always caught the attention and is able to increase ratings. Their perception is only focused on how to make a series for Thais but not on international standards.  All mentioned above led to the making of the film all the same. 

  • The Thai government should support more movies or series

What they should do right now without choosing any parties and providing an opportunity for a new generation of Thai people with a full potential and efficiency to perform in the market. If the government does not provide any initial cost or budget to new entries, the Thai entertainment industry would not be capable of matching international quality. 

  • Language is one issue that has restricted the audience for Thai movies

Thai movies are typically made in the Thai language, which can prevent them from receiving a bigger audience in nations where Thai is not a universal language. While subtitles can assist in removing this obstacle, the potential audience for these movies is still capped, or they may find it difficult to read subtitles while trying to follow the action on screen.

  • Cultural Disparities

Thai entertainment frequently includes themes and substances that are unique to Thai culture and customs, which may be difficult for audiences from other countries to comprehend or enjoy. International entertainment businesses, on the other hand, frequently use topics and content that are more universal and may be enjoyed by a larger audience. Additionally, the Thai entertainment industry is heavily influenced by local culture and norms, which may not always align with global trends or appeal to international audiences. There may be a need for more diversity and representation in storytelling to broaden the industry’s appeal.

HOW TO DEVELOP THAI PRODUCTION IN THE LONG TERM

  • Thai government should pay more attention to the importance of the

Thai movie industry

Thai cinema has the potential to become a global phenomenon with government support

We have the potential to be the new growth engine in this industry, not only creating film production value, but the Thai entertainment industry is also a part of the nation’s cultural product which can indirectly increase economic value by attracting audiences to consume goods and services that follow what are shown in the media they consume. In other words, this is what we call ‘soft power.’

Filmmakers should also pay more attention to attracting audiences. Simply using films as tools to promote Thailand’s soft power by focusing on elements, for example, food and tourist or local attractions, and stop risking and making the films meaningless.

“We can establish our aim to promote Thailand among foreigners, but attracting Thai audiences must come first. If the content of the films produced here is interesting enough, people will eventually be interested in Thailand’s soft power.

Government and filmmakers must work together in which the government should offer more assistance to filmmakers, such as by creating a fund to boost film production and assisting them in obtaining permission to utilize specific places for filming. 

  • Raising public’s awareness of art

Because public knowledge of the arts is poor, Thailand’s film industry must be developed with a long-term perspective. It should begin by increasing public awareness of the arts and creating a new economic force by content.

Thailand has to get rid of censorship so that people can express themselves freely. For example, Squid game, the viral Korean series on Netflix, criticizes the government and reflects the problems freely through the lense of entertainment to inform while entertaining the audiences. However, this kind of thing cannot be done in Thailand because the government does not allow any media to criticize themselves.

Filmmaking in Thailand is challenging because of the complicated rules, and it is not a financially rewarding vocation given that filmmakers earn less than those in comparable occupations.

CONCLUSION

In recent years, Thai cinema has gained a lot of recognition and acclaim at international film festivals, and several Thai films have achieved success both critically and commercially outside of Thailand.

For instance, Apichatpong Weerasethakul’s “Uncle Boonmee Who Can Remember His Previous Lives,” which won the Palme d’Or at the 2010 Cannes Film Festival, contributed to the internationalization of Thai cinema. Additionally, other movies including “Bad Genius,” “The Handmaiden,” and “Homestay” have gained acclaim abroad.

The growth of contemporary film studios and increased investment in the Thai film industry have also improved the caliber and range of Thai films. The demand for foreign material is rising as a result of the expansion of streaming services like Netflix and Amazon Prime, and Thai movies may undoubtedly find a global audience. 

In conclusion, the Thai film industry has the potential to expand internationally and to continue to win acclaim for its distinctive storytelling and cinematic style. However, with increased investment and international recognition, Thai films have the potential to reach a wider audience and become more prominent in the global film industry but may take some time and effort

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