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Film crew visits area to get lowdown on Eastman’s film
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Richard Dill (second from right) who is in charge of quality assurance at Eastman, is filmed by a Thai film crew Tuesday in Fieldale. The crew is working on a documentary about the company’s process of manufacturing window film. (Bulletin photo by Mike Wray)

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

By DEBBIE HALL - Bulletin Staff Writer

A television crew from Thailand will be in uptown Martinsville and other areas today filming segments that may be included in a documentary about the process of manufacturing window film.

Pam Feese, marketing/communications manager for Eastman Performance Films in Fieldale, said the crew has been in Martinsville and Henry County since Monday.

Eastman is “a global leader in the production, marketing and sales” of window film, she said. “We are one of the only companies in the world to take the manufacturing process all the way from raw materials to a finished product.”

The company’s Asian market, in particular, is growing, a fact that Feese attributes to the quality of the product that is produced in Henry County.

Channapa Saisamorn, the company’s largest customer in Thailand, tends to agree. She said she has been a “loyal customer for 18 years” and through several name changes.

In Fieldale, the company began as Martin Processing in the mid-1950s, Feese said. It later became CPFilms and more recently was known as Solutia.

The Eastman Chemical Co. acquired Solutia last summer, Feese said, and added that the company is excited about that, in part because Eastman offers the financial backing needed to compete in the global marketplace.

The documentary that is scheduled to debut in Thailand on April 7 will be like “opening the coconut shell” for Saisamorn’s customers, she said, because it will be “the first time to see the production of window film.”

And the crew was diligent in not leaving out any part of the process, according to Feese. “We went department by department, taking a look at how the film is made.”

Richard Dill, who has hosted the crew and works in the quality assurance department for Eastman, was in the metallizing department with the crew on Tuesday.

Basically, Dill said that aluminum is evaporated, and the vaporized product then condenses on the polyester film to give the finished product “extra energy rejection” which increases customers comfort levels in their homes or vehicles and helps reduce energy bills.

Natthanpong “Tunn” Thongkunwont, who is producing the documentary — and does about 50 films annually with his team, according to Feese — said he has “never visited a factory in America” before Monday.

Feese said the film also will feature “lifestyle” scenes from Martinsville, Henry and Patrick counties. She explained the crew and company officials visited Fairystone Park on Monday and went to Pigs ‘R Us for lunch.

Today, they will be in uptown Martinsville “shooting scenes to capture what the lifestyle is like here” and some of that footage also will be in the film, Feese said.

The production crew members first arrived in New York City, where they spent the night and also shot some scenes for the film, Feese said, but the Thailand people are “curious about the rural lifestyle.”

Saisamorn said this visit is her fifth to the Fieldale facility.

“This time, I learned a lot ... There are more people, more employees, more instruments (equipment) and more technology,” she said. “I feel very cozy in this town.”

Thongkunwont, who is among the 9.3 million people living in and around Bangkok, said he also hopes to return to Martinsville and Henry County.

“The atmosphere here is very lovely,” Tunn said. “It’s like a movie.”


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