Thursday, May 7, 2009

Ekachai receives medal of knighthood from Italy

Singapore-based Thai director Ekachai Uekrongtham was awarded the Cavaliere dell’Ordine della Stella della Solidarieta’ Italina award at a function last night in the residence of the Italian Ambassador in Thailand, HE Ignazio di Pace and his wife Helen di Pace.

Lekha J. Shankar was there and she sent this information.

The honor, announced last month, is a third-class Star of Italian Solidarity with the ranking of knight. It comes with a certificate and a medal.

Ekachai, the director of Beautiful Boxer, Pleasure Factory and The Coffin, is the first Thai filmmaker to get this award from the Italian government.

Ekachai's debut feature, 2003's Beautiful Boxer, was much acclaimed in Italy, winning best film prizes at the Milan International Lesbian and Gay Film Festival and the Torino International Gay & Lesbian Film Festival in 2004 and also screening at the Berlin Film Festival's Berlin in Rome (Berlino a Roma) program, the Thai Festival in Rome and the Udine Far East Film Festival in 2005.

Yesterday's function was attended by the director’s family and friends, including his mother, two brothers, as well as his colleagues from the Thai film industry.

Coffin producer Pantham Thongsaeng attended as did Coffin co-star Mamee Nakprasit, with Coffin and Pleasure Factory star Ananda Everingham making a surprise appearance toward the end of the event. Other actors included Beautiful Boxer star Asanee Suwan and another Coffin cast member, the veteran actor Suchao Pongvilai. Bangkok-based composer Bruno Brugnano, who's done the scores for nearly all of Ekachai's features, was also present.

Pantham, who's heading up motif+ (the former Mono Film), is ready to release his company's latest production, Roommate, next month.

Mamee, who stars in the Hollywood-Thai romance Bitter/Sweet, says she's training for her next role -- kickboxing in another Muay Thai movie being planned by Muay Thai Chaiya director Kongkiat Komesiri.

And Lekha has more about Ananda's activities.

Group photo time, from left, Ananda Everingham, Helen di Pace, Ambassador Ignazio di Pace, Ekachai, Suchao Pongvilai, Mamee and Asanee Suwan.

(Top photo by Lekha J Shankar, bottom photo courtesy of Ekachai's office. Thanks Lekha! More photos at Bangkok 1080)

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