The beautiful island of Koh Phangan in the Gulf of Thailand has long been stereotyped as a ‘party island’.
Over 20 years ago, on the night of the Full Moon, a group of backpackers congregated on the quiet sands of Haad Rin Beach to celebrate someone’s birthday. With acoustic guitars, booze and dreadlocks dangling, the party was such a hit that they decided to repeat the event next Full Moon. Slowly, rumours spread of an underground backpacker rave and the ‘Full Moon Party’ was born. Today, an estimated 30,000 people gather to drink vodka buckets, smear their bodies with glo-paint and dance till dawn.
Koh Phangan’s notoriety as a party destination seems to deter those travellers in search of something more cultural than a night that they probably won’t remember. As revelers flock once a month to fill the island for a few days and then leave once their hangover has subsided, they miss out on what is, (in our humble opinion!) one of the most stunning islands in Thailand, with an unspoilt natural landscape AND a booming bohemian arts scene just waiting to be discovered…
The beautiful, unspoilt coastline of West Koh Phangan
The Origins of Phangan Film Festival
Swiss-born, Julien Balmer has been an expat of Koh Phangan for the past eight years. Amongst other things, he is an accomplished cross-country skier with a degree in finance and economics, an earthen house-builder and a world-traveller. By day, he is a senior resident teacher at Agama Yoga School in Sri Thanu, Koh Phangan.
Julien had always been interested in the art of independent film-making and its power to transform people through cross-cultural expansion. His own film, Through the Eastern Gate, a documentary about three young travellers from the west searching for meaning in a modern era, has been screened at 11 film festivals on four continents.
In 2008, Julien decided to bring his love for meaningful film-making to his home of Koh Phangan starting the very first Phangan Film Festival (PFF) hosting a diverse presentation of high-quality independent films from around the globe.
Putting the big screen up at Phangan Film Festival
Local Thai artist, Nui Keetawan, introducing the 2009 Phangan FIlm Festival
Don’t miss this year’s Phangan Film Festival!
Date for your diary: 24-26 February 2012
Watch the 2012 Festival Trailer Here
On a beautiful tropical island; there really is no better place for open-air cinema as the waves trickle onto the shore nearby and stars twinkle in the dark sky above. Screenings take place at Holiday Beach Resort in Baan Tai and prices are 350 baht for a one-day pass or 800 baht for a three-day pass. There will also be homemade local food & drinks at the event for those peckish during the screenings!
The festival themes are NATURE and SPIRIT, two widely cherished and intimately related subjects which bear increasing relevance for both the island and our planet. The aim of the festival is to stimulate thoughtful reflection on our own ways of life and bring about appropriate attitudinal change and responsible action.
Diverse topics of films this year range from global warming, Balinese magic to spirituality and punk rock! If you would like to learn more about the official selection of films chosen for this year’s festival, please visit the website of Phangan Film Festival.
Just waiting for the audience to arrive at Phangan Film Festival 2012…
S.E.A Backpacker 2012 Sponsors & an Exclusive Offer!
Would you like to receive 15% discount on entrance to this year’s festival? (making a day-pass just 300 baht and a three-day pass only 680 baht!) Pick up a copy of S.E.A Backpacker Magazine FREE at over 1,800 travel agents, hostels, guesthouses, bars, restaurants and cafes all across South East Asia – and bring it with you to the festival in Koh Phangan.