Thursday, March 27, 2014

Last Executioner and Heaven shopped in Hong Kong, streaming release for Mindfulness

Wrapping up production as it aims for a release in June, director Tom Waller's The Last Executioner was shopped at the Hong Kong International Film Festival's FilMart by the new Thai outfit Handmade Distribution.

“We’re not going to say we are arthouse. Our films are a little more commercial, but with an angle. We are quite new here, so just try to do what we believe in,” Handmade's marketing consultant Watson Homsangpradit tells Screen Daily.

Handmade made its bow last year, bringing Lee Daniels' The Butler to Thai multiplexes. Other releases include the Donnie Yen 3D Chinese fantasy The Monkey King and the Shia LaBeouf-led Charlie Countryman.

According to Screen Daily, The Last Executioner (เพชฌฆาต, Petchakat) is among a pair of indie Thai features being prepped for release by Handmade.

The other is Heaven or Hell, a vehicle for rapper May Myo "Day" Thant of the hip-hop group Thaitanium. Day has previously had supporting roles in such films as Aung San Suu Kyi biopic The Lady, which was filmed in Thailand, and the Thai Town, Los Angeles-set drama Province 77. In Heaven or Hell, he'll play a gangster in Thailand's Sin City of Pattaya. Set for release next year, the director will be "Book" Alongod Uabhaibool, who previously did the 2010 drama Best Supporting Actor but is perhaps better known for directing music videos, including ones by Thaitanium.

The Last Executioner is a fact-based biopic about Chavoret Jaruboon, the one-man firing squad who was the last to carry out executions by rifle in Thailand's prison system. Vithaya Pansringarm (Chang from Only God Forgives) stars as Chavoret. The cast also includes Penpak Sirikul from It Gets Better and David Asavanond from Countdown.

Apart from Handmade's dealings in Hong Kong, another of Waller's films, his 2011 Buddhist mystery thriller Mindfulness and Murder (Sop Mai Ngeap, ศพไม่เงียบ), has received a video-on-demand rental release through Distrify. Also starring Vithaya, it's about an ex-cop-turned-monk investigating a murder at his temple. It's the first time the film has been made available for home viewing with English subtitles, another indication that in the near future foreigner Thai film fans will get their fix not from DVDs but through streaming platforms.

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