Thailand's Oscar Submission 'Countdown' to Get U.S. Release

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The Action Slate arm of specialty distributor Birch Tree will roll out the hit horror-thriller in the first quarter of 2014.

Action Slate Releasing, a division of specialty distributor Birch Tree Entertainment, has picked up North American rights to Countdown, Thailand's official submission for the best foreign language category Oscar.

A horror thriller from debut writer-director Nattawut "Baz" Poonpiriya, Countdown stars French-Thai actor David Asavanond as a sadistic otherworldly drug-dealer named Jesus who terrorizes three Thai students who procure his services for a party on New Year's Eve.

STORY: Oscars: Thailand Nominates ‘Countdown’ for Foreign Language Category

Asavanond won best actor honors at the Thailand National Film Association Awards in March for his performance. The film also took the best editing and best screenplay awards.

"We are very excited about this acquisition," stated Art Birzneck, president and CEO of Birch Tree Entertainment. "After seeing the exceptional storytelling skills and visual style of Nattawut Poonpiriya and the breakout performance of David Asavanond, we knew we had discovered a gem. We hope the Academy members will share our enthusiasm."

Countdown is produced by Thailand's GMM Thai Hub (GTH), the studio behind many of Thailand's best-selling horror exports, such as Shutter, 4Bia, Phobia 2 and Laddaland, along with the country’s highest grossing film of all time, Pee Mak Phra Khanong ($35 million).

"We are very happy to continue our relationship with GTH, Thailand's premiere production company," added Birzneck.

Countdown is the second GTH film released by Birch Tree. The first was Laddaland, which was Thailand's highest-grossing domestic film in 2011.

The distributor is planning a U.S. release for Countdown in the first quarter of 2014.