Thursday, January 31, 2008

Nonzee, Aditya projects selected for Hong Kong-Asia Film Financing Forum

Projects by Thai New Wave godfather Nonzee Nimibutr and indie director Aditya Assarat are among 25 proposals selected for the Kong Kong-Asia Film Financing Forum (HAF), which creates a marketplace for filmmakers to meet with international backers.

Nonzee's project is called Secret of the Butterfly, and, according to Kaiju Shakedown's Grady Hendrix, it is "the craziest project of the bunch." Written by none other than Kongdej Jaturanrasamee, the story has has all the weird, wonderful hallmarks of his works, with a plot about "a beautiful young woman who is accused of being a black widow", and is suspected of causing the deaths of three husbands.

Here's more from the plot synopsis:

Chatri, a police captain, and his forensic specialist, Korn, are assigned to investigate, but Chatri almost instantly falls for the seemingly lost, alluring young woman. Before they make love for the first time, he sees a distinctive red mark on her back and it reminds him of her supposed curse but, strangely, it just arouses him even more.

After their lovemaking he begins to suffer from dreams about a ghost branded with the same red mark as Natra and his relationship with his wife sours. He goes to Natra’s second husband’s home and discovers a room full of books about witches and curses, and dozens of paintings of a woman with the same red mark on her back. He decides to look into the deaths of her parents in an attempt to unravel the mystery of her curse.

But things go wildly out of control, as Grady notes:

It [ends] with a lesson in evolutionary biology and the complete eradication of all men on earth, as women discover how to give birth asexually. Imaging Kiyoshi Kurosawa's Pulse except with ooky biology and gore at its heart instead of bloodless ghosts and you have an idea of what he's trying to accomplish here.

It's good to see Nonzee lining up his next projects as his long-awaited Queen of Langkasuka is in post-production, being readied for release sometime in May. He has also been working on a Japanese co-production, Just as Chao Phraya River Flows, about two generations of Thai-Japanese couples. Jintara Sukapat stars, along with young Apinya Sakuljaroensuk (Ploy from Ploy). Another Nonzee project, a Pan-Asian ghost story called Toyol was shopped at HAF in 2006 (PDF), and it is still in development, he told back in December.

As for indie director Aditya, he wants to make a romantic drama called High Society, about a young actor and his changing relationships, first with his college sweetheart, whom he breaks up with at the beginning of a movie shoot, and then with assistant director he was dating during during the film shoot, but is drifting away from.

The story is partly inspired by the director's own life. Aditya explains:

I have wanted to make High Society ever since I started making films. It is taken from memories of my college years, bits and pieces of my own life and also stolen moments from my friends’ lives in those days. Even though several years have passed and the script has changed many times, the original intention has always been the same: the desire to capture the essence of contemporary youth in Bangkok, caught between two influences, that of the West which we always run towards, and that of the East, which we can never completely run from.

Aditya's debut feature film, Wonderful Town, is in competition at Rotterdam and is showing at the Berling International Film Festival, where the director is jury member for the Forum section. Wonderful Town will hopefully be released in Thailand at some point this year.

More information:

(Via Kaiju Shakedown; photo credit: Nonzee Nimibutr on the set of Queen of Langkasuka)

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