Oscars: Thailand Picks 'How To Win at Checkers (Every Time)' for Foreign-Language Category

Courtesy of Hong Kong International Film Festival
'How To Win At Checkers (Every Time)'

The decision came as a surprise to the local Thai industry, as the coming-of-age film is written and directed by a Korean-American, Josh Kim.

Surprising its film local film industry, Thailand has selected How To Win at Checkers (Every Time), from Korean-American director Josh Kim, as its submission for the best foreign-language film competition at the 88th Academy Awards.

Adapted by Kim from a book of short stories by Rattawut Lapcharoensap, Checkers is set in a small Thai town and tells the coming-of-age story of an 11-year-old boy who tries to prevent his gay older brother from being drafted into the military.

The film premiered in the Panorama section at the Berlin Film Festival in February, followed by a local Thai release in July. It won some positive reviews in the Thai and international press, in part for its strong current of social realism and courageousness in taking on the subject of the military draft while Thailand remains under unelected military rule.

"It is an honor to have the opportunity to represent Thailand in the Academy Awards race," Kim told THR. "I'm very proud of our team and am grateful for the goodwill and support we have received from Thailand throughout this production."

The submission decision was made by a special selection committee of the Federation of National Film Associations of Thailand, and announced on Tuesday. Checkers was the only non-Thai-directed title among the six finalists.

The film is a Thai-U.S.-Indonesia co-production. Germany's M-Appeal is handling international sales.

No Thai film has ever been nominated to the Academy's final short list for the Best Foreign Language Film category Oscar.