Fortissimo clocks in for 'Factory' job

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Fortissimo Films has se-cured worldwide sales rights to the Cannes-bound feature film "Pleasure Factory," the second film by Thai director Ekachai Uekrongtham, the Hong Kong- and Amsterdam-based company said Monday.

Taking place on a single night in Singapore's Geylang red light district, "Pleasure" stars Yang Kuei-Mei, Amanda Everingham and a supporting cast of first-time actors the director found on the streets of the Southeast Asian island nation, where he is a permanent resident.

"Pleasure" will screen as an entry from Singapore at Cannes next month in the Un Certain Regard category.

"Cannes is the most important film festival in the world and a major market for us, so having it there is going to be very useful," Fortissimo marketing director Raymond Phathanavirangoon said.

"Pleasure" was produced by Uekrongtham's Spicy Apple Films, with Fortissimo's Wouter Barendrecht and Michael Werner and Singapore-based InnoForm Media's Lim Teck serving as co-producers.

Fortissimo declined to release financial details about the deal for the film's worldwide sales rights.

Phathanavirangoon could not say which territories Fortissimo might focus on when trying to sell rights to "Pleasure," saying it was difficult to gauge the way distributors will react to a given film. "We've been surprised many times before," he said.

Leading lady Yang is best known outside Asia for her role in director Ang Lee's 1994 art house breakout "Eat, Drink, Man, Woman." Everingham's previous role was in the 2004 thriller "Shutter," co-directed by Thailand's Banjong Pisanthanakun.

Uekrongtham's first film, the 2003 Thai production "Beautiful Boxer" — based on the true story of a transsexual Thai kick boxer — garnered him a slew of honors on the international festival circuit, including the award as Asia's Most Promising Director at the 2004 International Film Festival of India.
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