Downtown Alt-Cinema to Host Bangkok’s First-Ever ‘Amazing Stoner Movie Fest’

Jeffrey “The Dude” Lebowski lays down on a rug that “really tied the room together” in <i>The Big Lebowski</i>. Image courtesy of Working Title Films.
Jeffrey “The Dude” Lebowski lays down on a rug that “really tied the room together” in The Big Lebowski. Image courtesy of Working Title Films.

With Thailand taking big steps on the path to medical marijuana legalization, a Bangkok arthouse cinema will — for the first time in the city — be throwing an event both cinephiles and weed provocateurs can enjoy.

For four days straight in August, Cinema Oasis will host the Amazing Stoner Movie Fest 2019, featuring popular stoner movies, plus features and shorts selected from contest submissions sent in to festival organizers for screening.

“The plain simple fact is I wanted to see a Thai stoner movie. The world has Cheech & Chong, Harold & Kumar, but no Piak & Odd,” Ing Kanjanavanit, the event organizer and co-owner of Cinema Oasis, wrote on the festival’s official site.

Image result for cheech and chong
Cheech and Chong in ‘Up in Smoke’ (1978). Photo: Paramount Pictures

Since it’s the first-ever film festival with a focus only on stoner films that we’ve seen in this city, Coconuts Bangkok reached out to Ing to talk a little bit more about what she and her team has planned.

What are the ideas behind the Amazing Stoner Movie Fest? In the past, were there any iconic Thai stoner films?

Ing: No, there is no iconic Thai stoner movie, as far as I know — there are no Thai stoner films, full stop, because of the censors’ power to ban films. We want to see a Thai stoner movie, so we arranged this contest.

Why do you think we need a stoner film festival right now?

Ing: Why not? We’ve heard the medical argument for legalization, it’s time we heard from the real Thai “Ganchachon” culture as well, the creative and spiritual aspect of ganja.

Since Cinema Oasis announced the contest in March, what have reactions from filmmakers and local audiences been like? 

Ing: We announced far in advance so people would have time to make real full-length features if they wanted to. It was an experiment to see if such a thing as a Thai stoner film existed. At first, nothing — then, all these films came in at the last minute, and not just from Thailand — we even got a wonderful film from Saudi Arabia! We also received some really good films that didn’t fit the stoner criteria. It was hard not to include them but we have to stick to stoner movies.

What can cinephiles expect from this event?

Ing: If you like Japanese and Thai zombies, you’ll have fun. You can be stoned on the cinema alone, no need to smoke a joint. There are some really strong contenders from Thailand as well, including one about getting busted in Bangkok, and you can’t afford to miss the sublime Filipino stoner movie Superpsychocebu.

Photo: Cinema Oasis / Courtesy

So, here are some other promising films we can look forward to: Lammbock, described as a “cult German stoner dude movie,” and Reefer Madness, which is dedicated to the 1936 anti-marijuana propaganda movie of the same name. There’s also a spoof on the famous American slasher flick The Texas Chainsaw Massacre — a feature film called Texas Death Trippin’ that circles around a “stoner Jesus” going about his life in a place where ravioli showers down from the heavens.

Got an appreciation for shorts? Well, it’s weed versus death in the Fighting off Zombification program, which will screen zombie-themed short films. Reality Check is a visual survival guide that goes through, er, stoner best practices if you get busted at a checkpoint. The full screening schedule is available online.

The Amazing Stoner Movie Fest will run from August 8 through August 11 at Cinema Oasis. The arthouse is located on Soi Sukhumvit 43 and can be reached by foot from BTS Phrom Phong.

One of only a handful of alternative cinemas in Bangkok, Cinema Oasis is the brainchild of Ing and Manit Sriwanichpoom — two directors behind the still-banned film Shakespeare Must Die.

Amazing Stoner Movie Fest 2019
August 8 – August 11
Cinema Oasis
Soi Sukhumvit 43
BTS: Phrom Phong

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