Among the crop of films premiering at Sundance Film Festival 2021 is Thai director Nattawut “Baz” Poonpiriya’s One For The Road.
The line-up of 72 films to premiere next January has been released. As is characteristic for Sundance, it maintains its focus on independent features and short films. Due to the pandemic, the festival – usually held in Salt Lake City, Utah – will have a mix of online screenings and satellite screenings around the United States. View the full line-up here.
One For The Road is the highly-anticipated new film by Poonpiriya, who directed the 2017 thriller Bad Genius. Hong Kong film luminary and In The Mood For Love director Wong Kar-wai produced the movie, which is also released by Jet Tone Films, Wong’s production company.
The film is about two formerly separated friends who discover that one of them has terminal cancer. They decide to embark on a final road trip of Thailand together, so that the dying friend can visit all his ex-girlfriends to say thank you and bid farewell one last time.
“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,” Poonpiriya said in an official Sundance video introducing the film. “With the help of producer Mr. Wong Kar-wai, the movie has turned out to be my most personal film to date.”
Watch Poonpiriya introduce One For The Road below:
“We are very happy to have the opportunity to work with a great talent like Baz whose previous work Bad Genius has proven his unique and strong approach to storytelling,” Wong Kar Wai said in a statement last year.
Poonpiriya is known to worldwide audiences for his 2017 film Bad Genius, which pit scheming high school students against the sophistry of examination systems. The heist thriller remains Thailand’s most internationally successful film, earning over US$30 million at China’s box office alone.
Other Asian talent on the Sundance line-up include Chinese-American director Nanfu Wang, whose 2019 film One Child Nation explored China’s decades-long “population war”. She returns to the country to investigate its management of the COVID crisis in In The Same Breath.
Thrilled to announce that my new film IN THE SAME BREATH will premiere at #Sundance 2021! This year, @sundancefest offers online screenings and Satellite Screens across the country, so you can access it on your own screens or in your town: https://t.co/Y6xe56m7Tp pic.twitter.com/1YcYNQgDDq
— Nanfu Wang (@wangnanfu) December 16, 2020
Japan’s Sion Sono, known for his idiosyncratic and surreal films, will also make his Hollywood debut with Prisoners of the Ghostland, an action-thriller starring Nicolas Cage and Sofia Boutella.
Also making his Sundance Festival debut is Filipino director Sonny Calvento with his short film Excuse Me, Miss, Miss, Miss, a short film and social satire on contractualisation in the Philippines which premiered in this year’s Cinemalaya Festival.
It’s included in the festival’s International Fiction category along with Vietnamese director Pham Ngoc Lan’s The Unseen River, a short film about a couple who seeks advice from a monk along the Mekong River.