Festival's focus is on Thai action films

ROME — Hot Thai martial arts blockbuster “Ong Bak 2″ will have its European bow at Italy’s 11th Udine Far East Fest, where the accent will be on the Thai action pic phenom.

Magnolia Pictures this month acquired U.S. rights for Thai superstar Tony Jaa’s “Ong Bak” sequel, which has done boffo biz at the Thai box office. “Ong Bak 2″ will preem internationally at the South by Southwest fest in Austin, Texas in March.

Udine, which is Europe’s preeminent Far East cinema showcase, has also secured the preem of femme martial arts movie “Chocolate.” Pic stars Jee Ja, who has been dubbed the female Tony Jaa.

“Chocolate” screens in the “Real Fight Is Back!” sidebar, which is dedicated to the popular Muai Thai pic genre. This is centered around genuine acrobatics rather than CGI wizardry.

More than 60 fresh features from mainland China, Hong Kong, Japan, Thailand, Indonesia, the Philippines, Singapore and Taiwan will unspool in Udine, which is located in Northern Italy and runs April 24-May 2.

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