Japanese businessmen opened the first permanent cinema, the Japanese Cinematograph, in 1905. Japanese films were so popular that nang yipun became the generic term for all moving pictures. European and American films were called nang farang (after the nang drama (shadow puppet plays) that were a Thai traditional art).

Under another member of the royal family, Prince Kambeangbejr, the Topical Film Service of the State Railway of Thailand was set up. The service produced many promotional documentaries for the railroad and other government agencies and became an important training ground for many filmmakers.
One of the early works produced was Sam Poi Luang: Great Celebration in the North (Thai: สามปอยหลวง), a docudrama that became a hit when it was released in 1940.