Directed by Detlev Buck and produced by Claus Boje, Same Same But Different will have its world premiere at the Locarno International Film Festival, screening in the Piazza Grande lineup. Variety has the full list for the August 5 to 15 fest.
Same Same But Different is a romantic drama based on the true story of Benjamin, a young German man traveling through Asia who fell in love with a Phnom Penh bargirl named Sreykeo. Benjamin decides he truly loves Sreykeo and becomes determined to overcome any obstacle to be with her.
Apinya, who made her debut in Pen-ek Ratanaruang's Ploy and has gone on to act in several other Thai films, including 4Bia and Boonchu 9, was chosen to play the Cambodian bargirl. The Same Same But Different blog recounts the casting session:
We met many young women, in America, France and Germany. Only when we did the casting in Bangkok and Apinya entered the room we had the plan worked out.
Apinya wore a small chain around her ankle, which tinkled in a tender way. We instantly went silent and just watched her. As she sat on the sofa it was still silent and she performed the hotel scene with Buck and Jan for the first time. Totally different partners, but she did not get confused. After that Buck asked her to do the Skype call when she tells Ben about her medical condition, which she didn’t prepare in advance. She just spoke straight and simple into the camera. After that there was a moment of silence, which extended more and more. Everybody just waited until she ended the call like it was written in the book. She waited for Buck to cut the scene, because she didn’t see the last sentence, which was on the next page. The tension increased and nobody could interrupt this moment. Then we knew that we found Sreykeo.
Very soon we organized a meeting between David and Apinya and our first impression was confirmed. There we had two young people, who fell in love under hard and conditions and struggled and fought for their happiness. And there we had the two young actors, who made us believe it. Finally!
An Asian premiere of Same Same But Different is planned for October 8 in Phnom Penh, according to the movie's blog, which you'll have to keep on eye on if you want to know more about that.
Also from the movie's blog is a funny video of the Bangkok-born Apinya being shown how to harvest rice by hand. She then has to show Kross how to work the curved blade. I embedded it below.