The first ever Thailand Entertainment Expo (Sep 24-28) wrapped on Sunday, after a slightly busier weekend as the event was opened to the public, but overall business and buyers were thin on the ground.

Organised by Thailand's Department of Export Promotion (DEP) and Ministry of Commerce, the five-day event brought together 147 film, TV, music and animation companies and trade associations in the cavernous Royal Paragon Hall in downtown Bangkok.

Delegates agreed the event, which appears to have been loosely modelled on the Hong Kong Entertainment Expo, had good intentions but attendance was hit by the current political instability in Thailand.

Among the Thai exhibitors were entertainment giant GMM Grammy, Prommitr Production and TV production outfitWork Point, along with trade associations and facilities companies. Around 40 foreign companies and trade associations were also present. The schedule included seminars, screenings of Thai films and performances by local artists.

However, few of Thailand's major film studios took booths at the Expo, choosing to focus on the upcoming Asian Film Market in Korea or the American Film Market (AFM) instead. And there were few overseas buyers, although one of the few film companies exhibiting, Han Media, said it had sold some TV dramas to Hong Kong, Malaysia and Taiwan.

'We've done a few sales here but a lot of buyers didn't come because of the political situation,' said Han Media general manager Zhang Dong.

Some countries advised against travel to Thailand following anti-government protests in August and earlier this month. Also the timing of the event, which was determined by political and budgetary concerns, didn't work from the international film industry's point-of-view which has one of its busiest months in September.

However, DEP director general Rachane Pojanasuhthorn saidtheDEP ispleased with the outcome of the Expo, and is committed to making it an annual event, although no dates have been set for next year.

'Next year we'll include Thailand Entertainment Expo in the country's international events calendar and it will be promoted to a greater extent,' he said. 'It's interesting that Indian companies have shown interest in shooting films here. Some Japanese firms are also look for co-production partnerships in Thailand.'

TEE was held in conjunction with the Bangkok International Film Festival (Sep 23-30) which is taking place in an adjacent shopping mall and cinema complex in the centre of Bangkok, but is separately organised by private industry associations (see separate story).