Sunday, September 23, 2012

Thailand lines up Headshot for Oscars, U.S. release set

Headshot (Fon Tok Kuen Fah, ฝนตกขึ้นฟ้า), Pen-ek Ratanaruang's crime thriller about a hitman who sees the world upside down, has been chosen as Thailand's submission to the 85th Academy Awards, according to social-media reports today.

It's the fourth entry by Pen-ek in contention for the Oscars' Best Foreign Language Film following 6ixtynin9 in 2000, Monrak Transistor in 2002 and Last Life in the Universe in 2003.

News of the Thai film industry's Oscar pick appears to not come through any official or established media channels but through the social networks. According to Thai movie blogger Jediyuth, it was filmmaker Tanwarin Sukkhapisit, president of the Thai Directors' Association, who broke the news on Facebook, where it was noticed by Deknang and posted on Twitter.

Headshot follows the film-noir leanings of Pen-ek's previous efforts with a surreal story of spiritual redemption about a cop-turned-hitman (portrayed by "Peter" Nopachai Jayanama) who is shot in the head, falls into a coma and wakes up to see his world turned literally upside down. The Thai title Fon Tok Keun Fah means "rain falling up to the sky" and is adapted from the short "film-noir novel" by SEA Write and Silpathorn Award laureate author Win Lyovarin.

Produced by Local Color Films – Pen-ek's first feature not released by long-time Thai studio Five Star Production – Headshot premiered at last year's Toronto International Film Festival and has been a regular fixture on the festival circuit since then with too many appearances to keep track of.

Headshot's selection for the Oscars comes after dominating the Thai movie awards earlier this year, including the industry's own "Thai Oscars", the Subhanahongsa "Golden Swan" Awards.

It was picked up for U.S. distribution by Kino Lorber and is beginning a run of limited theatrical releases in New York and Seattle on September 28.

The U.S. trailer from Kino Lorber's website is embedded below.

Update: Via Wildgrounds, the French release is set for late October. The tagline on the poster says "certaines vies n'ont pas de sens" – "some lives have no direction".

Update 2: It's official. "The Federation just sent all the documents through this morning," producer Pawas Sawatchaiyamet tells Film Business Asia.

(Via Veen_NT)

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