Thai Pitch Event Returns to Cannes

Apichatpong Weerasethakul

The noted Thai auteur was in Locarno to head the international jury, which earned praise for some of its out-of-the-box prize selections. In addition to Brisseau’s The Girl From Nowhere, the jury honored a couple of unexpected actors - China’s An Nai for her understated role as a killer’s mother in Wo hai you hua yao shuo (When Night Falls) and Austrian actor Walter Saabel in just his second major acting role in Der Glanz des Tages.

The Thai Pavilion will present three new projects to international funders and producers, while Apichatpong Weerasethakul returns to the Croisette with his first feature-length film since winning the Palme d'Or.

Thailand's Ministry of Culture is bringing its annual Thai Pitch Event back to Cannes after a one-year hiatus. Three projects from established and upcoming Thai directors – Wisit Sasanatieng, Wasunan Hutawet and Sananjit Bangsapan – have been chosen to take part in this year’s initiative. Each project will be presented to potential funders, sales agents and co-producers at the Thailand Pavilion in the Cannes International Village on May 16-17.

"Our last Thai Pitch at Cannes session in 2013 was quite successful, with representatives from organizations such as World Cinema Fund, Hubert Bals Fund, Dutch Film Fund, Paris Co-production Market, Backup Films and many others taking part," says project coordinator Raymond Phathanavirangoon, also an influential producer in the region (Tokyo Sonata, 2008; Headshot, 2011). "So, although it wasn't possible to organize another Thai Pitch last year, I'm happy that it has returned so that we can help encourage more potential international co-productions with Thai projects," he adds.

Thailand's profile at Cannes will receive a further boost from festival favorite Apichatpong Weerasethakul's return to the Croisette. The 44-year-old Thai auteur's Cemetery of Splendor, his first feature since Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives won the Palme d'Or in 2010, has been selected to premiere in the festival's Un Certain Regard section.

The 2015 Thai Pitch projects include:

Director: Wisit Sasanatieng (Tears of the Black Tiger, 2000; Citizen Dog, 2004)
Producer: Athimes Arunroj-angkul (Phobia 2, 2009; Karaoke Girl, 2013)
Summary: Inside the ring, Suriya is an ingenious boxer – a fast and furious killer famed for his “Double Kicks-Double Elbows” move. Outside the ring, he lives on booze and the attention of prostitutes. There is no middle ground. Inflicted with a venereal disease, he loses his will to fight to the end, and therefore his sanity.

Director: Wasunan Hutawet (Berlinale Talents 2012, Debut feature)
Producers: Soros Sokhum (Wonderful Town, 2007; P-047, 2011), Parinee Buthrasri
Summary: Ann, a young woman from the countryside who has moved to Bangkok in the hopes of creating a better life for herself, finds herself lost within her surroundings. One day, as Ann reminisces with warmth and fondness for her hometown, she decides to return home with her boyfriend Sun. Yet, the hometown that Ann was so used has completely changed.

Director: Sananjit Bangsapan (Butterfly in Grey, 2002; Hit Man File, 2005)
Producers: Supong Javanasundara (Hit Man File, 2005), Nakorn Veerapavati
Summary: In 1928, Ho Chi Minh, as the rising young leader of the Vietnam’s liberation movement, traveled secretly to Thailand. This trip was related to the founding of the Communist Party of Thailand. Pursued by a French assassin, Ho befriended a Thai man who would save his life and help him escape back to Vietnam.