Face-to-Face: Viphan Leelachart

Face-to-Face is a new feature from newzealandinc.com where we sit down for a chat with visiting business leaders from around the globe. We find out a little about them and their business, why they’re in New Zealand and what’s on their mind.

The first in our Face-to-Face series is Viphan Leelachart, visiting New Zealand as a part of the ASEAN Young Business Leaders Initiative. The New Zealand Government established the program to develop knowledge of our unique local business environment and strengthen our connections within the ASEAN region.

Viphan Leelachart lives and breathes the film industry. His parents own a successful film post-production company in Thailand and prior to opening Momento Film Productions, Viphan worked here following a stint at the prestigious Art Center College of Design in California. With this in mind it was little surprise that The Hobbit was right at the top of the agenda. “I was in Wellington for the premiere. The [enthusiasm of] the city for The Hobbit was amazing,” Viphan told newzealandinc.com.

Grinning from ear to ear, Viphan gave a detailed account of the premiere vividly recounting seeing Peter Jackson in person and all of the glitz and glamour of the red carpet.

Above: Viphan on location for the premiere of The Hobbit.

While in Wellington, Viphan had a personal tour of the Weta Workshops which was clearly a highlight of his trip. I was inspired. Observing the quality and detail of their productions was amazing.”

Learning more about the New Zealand film industry, the processes involved and the key players in the region is a priority for Viphan. He hopes to make connections to enable his company Momento to begin production here in the future. On the flip side, Kiwi film companies were interested in discussing the possibility of winning contracts in Thailand.

“I visited a number of commercial film businesses in New Zealand. I was impressed with the variety and knowledge of the businesses.

“In Bangkok, we do a lot of co-production. The ability to do this in New Zealand was great… Film companies are able to fly in, source all of their equipment locally and focus on shooting.”

Viphan said the vast array of scenery was one of the initial attractions to film in New Zealand, but the depth of the industry and passion for film here clearly left a lasting impression. “New Zealanders are very proud of their film industry. Everything that’s been done for the premiere, from the statues to the airport to the people. Everyone’s really into it.”

“They’re so proud of what they have accomplished. It was just like Hollywood.”

Confident that the formal part of his trip was successful, Viphan hopes to return to New Zealand in the near future, perhaps next time with camera in hand

The ASEAN Young Business Leaders Initiative is run by the Asia New Zealand Foundation (Asia:NZ).

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