Catapulted into fame for his critically acclaimed exam-cheating thriller Bad Genius, Nattawut “Baz” Poonpiriya is taking another big step on the world’s stage: the Sundance Film Festival.
Directed by Baz and produced by Hong Kong filmmaker Wong Kar-wai, One for the Road was listed last night among 72 feature films – and the only from Thailand – to show at the elite film fest to be held Jan. 28 through Feb. 3.
Due to the ongoing pandemic, the festival will eschew red carpet premieres and crowded theaters in favor of streaming online.
Shot in New York and Thailand, One for the Road chronicles a man’s reunion with an estranged friend dying of cancer. The two buddies embark on a final road trip to complete a bucket list – but each is hiding something.
“My mission as a director for this film is to drive myself down the memory lane because some of the characters are loosely based on my experience,” Baz said. “With help of Mr. Wong Kar-wai, the movie has turned out to be my most personal film to date.”
Wong, the much-lauded auteur of his own brand of stylistic and atmospheric films, is producer.
Apart from the premiere, the film is also nominated for Sundance’s Grand Jury Prize in World Cinema Dramatic, Director Award and Special Jury Award.
The 136-minute film is expected to debut in Thailand early next year.
The casts include heartthrob Thanapob “Tor” Thanapob, Natara “Ice” Nopparatayapon, Violette Wautier, Ploi Horwang and Siraphun “Noon” Wattanajinda. It also reunites him with Chutimon “Aokbab” Chuengcharoensukying, who rose to fame as the straight-A student protagonist of the internationally successful Bad Genius who schemes to cheat on exams.
Baz holds a master’s degree in stage directing from Bangkok’s Srinakharinwirot University. After working in TV commercials, he went on to study graphic design in New York. He returned to Thailand and produced his first film, the New Year’s Eve thriller Countdown.
His second feature Bad Genius swept a record-breaking 12 Golden Swans at the Thailand National Film Association Awards in 2018 and proved commercially successful at the foreign box office.