The co-operation among 10 Southeast Asian countries, namely Myanmar, Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines, Singapore, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Brunei, and Thailand has for many years yielded economic prosperity and facilitated regional trade and cultural enrichment. The ASEAN member countries have developed a high level of competitiveness while the free market agreement under ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) was created in 2015 when leaders of ASEAN nations ratified the Asean Declaration, setting a direction for more economic and cultural collaboration.
The ever-changing political, economic and social context and international relations within the region and the world means ASEAN members are facing new challenges posed by external factors. To strengthen cultural diplomacy is one of the most important policies that each ASEAN nation pursues in order to reflect national identities and present its national image to the whole world.
Movies are cultural ambassadors that reflect ways of life, beliefs,traditions, ideas of a society to audiences both local and international, encouraing an exchange of knowledge and promoting acceptance and diversity of individuals as well as nations. Besides, movies are a part of the creative industry that generates sizable revenues to all ASEAN nations.
To promote the role of movies as an agent of mutual understanding and to present cultural riches, ways of life, beliefs and identities of ASEAN members, Thailand’s Ministry of Culture has organized Bangkok ASEAN Film Festival since 2015.This is the 5 th edition of the festival where audiences in Thailand can watch films from ASEAN countries. It is especially important that in 2019, Thailand is the chair of ASEAN, and 2019 has also been designated as the Year of ASEAN Culture.