Session 5, Wikanda Promkhuntong, April 5th: ‘Runaway’ Foreign Film Productions from a Global South Perspective, Wikanda Promkhuntong

This proposed seminar session draws attention to the phenomenon of runaway production in the context of Thailand, whereby the subject has been publicly shaped by the state’s policy that positions the country as a site for spectacular locations and skillfully cheap labour for foreign film productions since the early 2010s. The paper repositions the dialogue by shifting the emphasis to the ways local workers have defined and continue to redefine foreign film productions based on their own experiences and micro-practices on the film sets. The seminar is divided into two parts: the post-Cold War and post-pandemic production memories.

The first part focuses on the context of the 1980s when foreign film productions took off on a large scale with notable films such as Dear Hunter (1978) and The Killing Fields (1984). Drawing from my own published article (Promkhuntong 2022), the paper explores set-diaries published as pocketbooks by two peripheral workers who have worked on the set of the film The Killing Fields. Along with my note from a visit to the film location in Hua Hin, Thailand, and online paratexts from another Cold-War-related production, the paper employs a palimpsestuous reading of these materials to unpack layers of memories on micro-finances on the film sets, geopolitical tensions, and cultural negotiations that took place during and after the making of the film.

The second part draws attention to the Thai screen labour movement during and post-pandemic based on semi-structured interviews with those working on local and foreign film productions. This part of the seminar highlights the active roles of film crews online in raising public awareness of creative labour precarious conditions alongside progressive political movement. While those working for foreign streaming companies have more lobbying power, better health and safety protections, and financial stability than other local screen workers, the solidarity across different sectors led to shared demands for a better quality of life and the establishment of an informal creative labour union and professional guilds. Through these cases, the seminar reflects on intricate relations between foreign film productions and local workers, particularly the latter roles as knowledge makers and agents of change in the global South.

Wikanda Promkhuntong is an assistant professor in Film and Cultural Studies at the Research Institute for Languages and Cultures of Asia (RILCA), Mahidol University, Thailand. Her research engages with East Asian cinema and different forms of border-crossing. Her work explores the discourses around and practices of screen industry agents from auteurs/stars, cinephiles/fans to above/below-the-line workers, and the changing conditions that shaped their lives and works over time. Her recent monograph Film Authorship in Contemporary Transmedia Culture: The Paratextual Lives of Asian Auteurs (2023) is published with Amsterdam University Press. She has also written on film cultures in relation to fan tourism and historical film reception.

Citer ce billet
christeltailliberttps (2024, 26 mars). Session 5, Wikanda Promkhuntong, April 5th: ‘Runaway’ Foreign Film Productions from a Global South Perspective, Wikanda Promkhuntong. Transcultural Production Studies. Consulté le 23 juin 2024, à l’adresse

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