Annual cultural festival is back with a new time period, and more events than ever.
Last May, not long after we ran a preview article saying that “
At the press conference last Thursday (13th January), H.E. Mr. Gildas Le Lidec, ambassador of
Cultural attaché Stéphane Négrin adds, in our exclusive interview, “To be honest, French artists don’t know much about the political situation in
“We just hope that the political situation will be positive and that this festival can run from the beginning to the end. We know that protests are still going on. Politics is very important in everyday life of course, but culture is important too. I know more and more Thai people are involved in politics but they are in culture too, and so we need to have both.”
Négrin and his small team, comprising eight members from the French Embassy and Alliance Francaise, have been successful in bringing back most of the events scheduled for last year’s postponed festival, plus more. This he credits to the addition of this year’s budget to the remainder of last year’s.
“It’s also because after four years here [as French cultural attaché] I feel more comfortable with the budget and sponsorship, and with my team who’ve been organizing the festival for four years now, we’re more professional and know one another better so everything goes faster. A problem is the number of people in our team—organizing a big and expensive event takes as equal amount of time as a small and cheap one. We can’t do more than this but we can do differently, and, I hope, better.”
He gives an example—a free outdoors screening of award-winning films, and audience’s favourites, “Amelie” and “Monrak Transistor” at Museum Siam on Valentine’s day.
“For the first time ‘
Another original project that very well captures the spirit of “
And this has been initiated by the French cultural attaché himself, who’s often seen with French-design spectacles, shirts and neck ties, plus an astonishing motorcycle helmet—truly French-Thai.
“Even if maybe we have only 20 or 100 audiences [in each Tuk Tuk 26 performance], in comparison to 2,000 people at the Thailand Cultural Centre [for the symphony concert, the festival’s closing event], it makes sense in terms of our programming. ‘
Since its inception in 2004, “
Négrin, under whose vision the festival has shown its strong contemporary signature and grown significantly in scale, popularity and quality, notes, “An amazing city like Bangkok must have its own international arts festival. But of course artists need revenues, and so you can’t expect them to be here just to be in nice hotels. A big budget is necessary and if your government is not ready, maybe you can ask for support from your major food and beverage companies, for example. Some people say that audiences here are not ready, but audiences need to be educated. In the first few years, you may have more invited audiences than paying ones, but it’ll get better.”
For now, it’s time to revisit familiar venues where we enjoyed the past “
For example, there will be three fashion photography exhibitions at BACC.
Outdoors photography exhibition “Portraits of Asia” will kick off the festival’s at Central World Square on Wednesday 9th February.
The same venue will also host a free concert at a later date.
Another outdoors photography exhibition “The Parisian Pedestrian” will be at Alliance Francaise Bangkok on Sathorn Road.
French Film Festival will return to SF World.
Many music, dance and mime performances are scheduld for Patravadi Theatre and Aksra Theatre.
And as usual, a BSO concert, with a French conductor and a mezzo-soprano star, will close the festival at Thailand Cultural Centre's Main Hall.
Plus, this year’s festival has new venues like Museum
Also, the festival is going beyond
And so, it’s that time of year again when my dog gives me an odd look that reads “Excuse me, do you live here?” almost every late evening when I get back home after an event at my favourite festival in
Special thanks to all members of “
written by Pawit Mahasarinand
published in THE NATION on Friday 21st January, 2011
photos courtesy of La Fête
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