The Culture Ministry looks to set up new film agency

The Culture Ministry is looking into the setting up of a new agency to provide the film and video industry with a full range of services and assistance.

Film and video-related activities currently involve a number of government agencies.

They include the Office of Tourism Development under the Tourism and Sports Ministry, which is responsible for allowing foreign film-makers to shoot movies in Thailand, and the Office of Contemporary Art and Culture under the Culture Ministry, which is responsible for promoting the film industry.

The Culture Ministry recently held a meeting with state and non-governmental organisations to discuss possible cooperation in establishing the Film and Video Department to bring together all agencies involved in the film business.

"To merge all filming services into one body will make it more convenient for film-makers by saving them time and giving access to all services under one roof," deputy permanent secretary for culture Apinan Poshyananda said yesterday.

"I know it will be quite hard to push the establishment of the film and video department. But if successful, it will help stimulate the film industry both in this country and overseas."

Mr Apinan said the proposal was drawn from lessons in other countries such as South Korea, Japan, France, Britain and Germany, which all have one agency to look after the film industry and promote films. Many countries have their own specific sectors to look directly after filming, such as South Korea, Japan, France, Britain and Germany. Mr Apinan was hopeful that better coordination between agencies under the one department would help develop the industry over the long term.

"The ideas and creativity of Thai people are not inferior to other nationalities', but what we need is effective management," he said.

For the proposal to go ahead, it would need the cabinet to reverse its decision of last year not to allow the setting up of any new government offices before Sept 30 this year.

Mr Apinan said it was up to the government to show some flexibility with its cost-cutting measures.