To ban or not to ban; that is the Freedom question.

12.5.12

 


12 May 2012, Bangkok

Dear Cast & Crew, Family & Friends,

You’ve probably seen yesterday’s bad news: our appeal was rejected. The ban on Shakespeare Must Die “permanently” remains.

Yesterday afternoon around 4 pm, the National Board of Film and Video, chaired by General Yuthasak Sasiprapa, Deputy Prime Minister on political affairs and former Defense Minister, who presided on behalf of PM Yingluck Shinawatra, agreed with the Film Censorship Board’s ruling that Shakespeare Must Die is a threat to national unity, therefore its decision to ban the film from distribution in the Kingdom of Thailand is a correct decision that will not be revoked.

We do not accept the legitimacy of this senseless verdict. Our fight against the ban continues so that, by whatever means necessary, Shakespeare Must Die may be shown in Thailand. We fight on though it has now become quite clear that this entails taking on the dictatorial film law itself and superstructure, the climate of fear under the rule of PM Yingluck Shinawatra, the hidden special interest groups as well as unethical and fear-driven abuse of power.

As we waited for the verdict outside the meeting room where our fate was being decided at the Ministry of Culture, it was strange to observe that ministry and censorship office officials who should’ve been inside, were all waiting there with us along with an army of reporters. They had been barred from the discussion, as if the Shakespeare Must Die decision were a ‘black-op’ order from above that had to be obeyed in secrecy. It was also notable that neither General Yuthasak, whose office at Government House had all but assured us just last week that the May 11th decision would be a “compromise”, nor Culture Minister Sukumol Khunpleum, and not even Permanent Cultural Secretary Somchai Sianglhai remained to face the press, so that it fell to Deputy Permanent Secretary Aphinan Poshyanonda to announce the indefensible bad news, which seemed to come as a shock to everyone there. He admitted to the press that he found the verdict a difficult and uncomfortable one, and in his opinion the banning law needs to be amended. (Some of his comments are published in detail in Thai Rath daily and online.)

Do not lose hope, people. We must fight on for the sake of every future Thai film as well as for our own. To give up would mean to resign ourselves to the chains that bind Thai cinema, the tyranny that refuses to allow it to bloom into a respected artistic medium with dignity and a free spirit.

With much love and respect for everyone

and many thanks for your moral support,

Manit Sriwanichpoom

Producer

Ing K

Director

Shakespeare Must Die