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Friday, 11 January, 2002, 16:45 GMT
Thailand woos foreign filmmakers
Phi Phi, in Thailand
Phi Phi: The exotic setting for The Beach, in 2000
Thailand is on a drive to attract more filmmakers from around the world.

The government is considering relaxing its rules on income tax and exporting film, and issuing work permits to film crews as incentives.

Thailand also plans to "cut procedures and to make things easier for foreign film crews", the government said, without elaborating.

The Thailand Film Office said 435 foreign films - including features, commercials and documentaries - had been shot in 2001, earning the country a record 1.27 billion baht (20m/$29m).

Environmental campaigners protest against the making of The Beach in Thailand
The Beach sparked environmental protests

The Film Office said the number of feature films had doubled, from 29 in 2000 to 59 in 2001, while the number of commercial advertisements had increased, from 167 to 184.

The amount of revenue earned in 2001 was more than double the 553m baht (8.7m/$12.6m) made in 2000, when 402 foreign films were shot in Thailand, it said.

The film office said the apparently disproportionate increase in revenue between 2000 and 2001, given the total number of films made in each year, was due to a rise in the number of feature films, on which filmmakers traditionally spend much more money.

It reported a drop in the number of documentaries - which are less lucrative - from 206 in 2000 to 192 last year.

Japanese producers led the international field in taking advantage of Thai settings, which include spectacular beaches, tropical jungles and scenic mountains.

Japan's filmmakers made 172 films in Thailand in 2001; Europe's, 73; India's, 26; Hong Kong's, 26; and the US, 17.

See also:

18 Feb 00 | Entertainment
Thais aim for movie-watching record
08 Jan 01 | Asia-Pacific
Thais mourn film star buffalo
28 Dec 99 | Entertainment
Thais banish Anna and the King
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