KKU Transformation: Revival of soft power and enhancing Isan culture – from Khaen Film Festival to Cannes

One mission of Khon Kaen University is art, culture, and creative economy development, which is a target set in the 2024-2027 Plans. The mission involves full-cycle transformation in which all organizations and divisions of Khon Kaen University carry out their operations in accordance with the Spirit of KKU. One obvious result is the great success of Si Than Festival that has become a biggest festival of Thailand.

Assoc. Prof. Niyom Wongpongkham, Ph.D., Vice President for Art, Culture and Creative Economy, Khon Kaen University, stated that the next step of KKU Creative Economy is to execute two things. The first is the cultural landscape, beginning from the area of Khum Si Than and Buddhasilp. This targets renovation and services so that Khon Kaen University Art and Cultural Center will be the best gallery in Thailand, open around the clock instead of until midnight (a 24-hour Art Gallery). There will be outstanding works of over 60 great artists exhibited to draw people to come and appreciate the art works in Khon Kaen University. Another target is to establish a multiple-disciplinary life museum in the future.

“Khon Kaen University is an aesthetics university, with networks of folk and national artists. Thus, the campus will become a place for people to come and sense the spirit of KKU.”

Secondly, “Khon Kaen City of Films” is going to be executed. After Khon Kaen University’s propulsion of Khaen Film Festival, with the first Isan Film Archive or the first Regional Film Archive of Thailand emerging from cooperation of both governmental and private sectors in Khon Kaen; 90% of the institutions offering programs in film making have accepted to join with Khon Kaen University to extend Isan movies to the World City of Movies.

Nevertheless, the works do not include only conducting a project for a certain period of time; but Khon Kaen University still believes in sustainability and this has led to the founding of “Kaen Film Academy”. The objective is to transfer knowledge in acting and full-cycle film production, from pre to post production by experts from different fields.

Meanwhile, film making for film watchers all over the world is being carried out. Khon Kaen City has just performed the worship ritual for the film “4 Khamang”, a film directed by Mrs. Kulakan Mambar, a rising-star and capable director. Mrs. Kulakan is from Khon Kaen and is an alumnus of the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences. The film is invested at an amount of roughly 10 million baht by the private sector of Khon Kaen, and is soon ready for streaming on Netflix.

“KKU Creative Economy will become the soft power behind Khon Kaen, the city of films; and in the future, everyone can look forward to “Khaen to Cannes”!!

The other film by Khon Kaen people is “Phra Mai” directed by Assoc. Prof. Niyom Wongpongkham himself while the Executive Producer is “Pratchaya Pinjaew”, a world-class film director. This demonstrates an important step towards KKU as the University of Film Festival, according to the policy set by Assoc. Prof. Charnchai Panthongviriyakul, M.D., President of Khon Kaen University. The policy is to transfer Creative Economy to all faculties, which leads to true creative teaching, research and academic services.

With the strength of Khon Kaen University, the communities around will also be strong. In the future, Tha Phra District, Khon Kaen, the hometown of “Panna Rittikrai”, a world-class Stunt Man and the 2012 Isan Heritage Artist; will be the landmark or a city of World Stunt Man before the “Stunt Man Academy” established in the future. Khon Kaen University will be the key mechanism in the revival of Soft Power so that Khon Kaen film will sustainably reach people all over the world.

“It is like we watch Korean films and we love them. It is not only watching one time, but it is watching it over and over until we love them. Khon Kaen University will work intensively for Khon Kaen to become a City of Films, too.”

News: Panit Khatnak




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