Thailand’s rising talent

A look at directors, screenwriters and an actor

WHO: Ananda Everingham, actor
WHY: His good looks matched only by his serious ambition, Everingham’s career is blooming. His collaborations with some of Thailand’s top directors show his range and knack for risk-taking. Earlier this year, the Australian-Laotian played a gay amnesiac in hit romantic comedy “Me … Myself,” appeared in Pen-ek Ratanaruang’s “Ploy” and Ekachai Uakrongtham’s “Pleasure Factory,” which both premiered in Cannes. Next comes “Bangkok Time,” in which he takes on the role of a male prostitute followed by Nonzee Nimibutr’s fantasy epic “Queen of Lankasuka,” in which the versatile young thesp will summon whales and vanquish pirates.

WHO: Chukiat Sakweerakul, director
WHY: Sakweerakul started making feature-length movies as a film student — they’re rough-edged indies with ultra-low budgets but brimming with promise. His first mainstream film, 2004’s “Pisaj,” was an above-average horror yarn, and his thriller “13 Beloved,” a roller-coaster ride of smart set pieces and social satire, was the best-reviewed Thai film of 2006. Adept in combining edgy materials with mainstream flair, Sakweerakul is finishing his feature “Love of Siam,” with Sahamongkol Film Intl.

WHO: Kongdej Jaturanransamee, screenwriter-director
WHY: In a time when critics bemoan the country’s lack of gifted screenwriters, Jaturanrasamee represents the brightest hope. He first drew attention with his writing-directing debut “Sayew” in 2003 and garnered praises for his delicate scripting of the tearjerker drama “The Letter,” the film that proved industry pundits wrong about their belief that a love story couldn’t ever be a hit in Thailand. Earlier this year, he scripted hit romantic comedy “Me … Myself”; the film’s remake rights have already been sold to Korea’s K&Entertainment. He’s now shooting a love story with studio GTH.

WHO: Songyos Sugmakanan, director
WHY: Sugmakanan has emerged as a full-fledged talent with his 2006 film “Dorm,” his first solo work that went on to win a prize at the Berlinale’s Generation sidebar. His direction has the composure of a mature artist, while his interest in the delicate shifts of human feelings made “Dorm” an unusually touching horror movie. He’s now preparing his next project, a still-untitled love story. Shooting begins later this year.

WHO: Aditya Assarat, director-writer-producer
WHY: It’s not precisely correct to categorize Assarat as a rising talent, but this well-known shorts filmmaker and TV director is a man to watch because he will soon finish his long-awaited first feature, a road movie set against the backdrop of the 2004 tsunami tentatively called “Wonderful Town.” Acclaimed for his soulful shorts “Motorcycle” and “Waiting,” he had struggled to raise the money for his feature before deciding to do it independently on HD. His classical touch and poignant sensibilities make “Wonderful Town” one of the most anticipated Thai productions this year.

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