Buddhist-themed horror film Arpat has been selected as Thailand's submission for the Foreign Film category at the upcoming 89th Oscar Awards.

The filmdirected by Kanittha Kwunyoo, was chosen by Federation of Thai Film Associations over four other finalists: Ekkachai Srivichai's Serd, Pimpaka Towira's The Island Funeral, Boonsoong Nakphoo's Wandering and Kongdej Jaturanrasamee's Snap

Around this time last year, Arpat (formerly titled Arbat) made headlines after it was initially banned by the government for scenes in which a monk character is involved in activities that could be deemed offensive to Buddhism. These scenes included a young monk kissing a girl and a monk drinking alcohol. 

The film eventually passed the censorship board after the scenes in question were cut, with its name also changed to remove religious connotations. At the time, some people suggested the whole situation was a publicity stunt. 

So far, the reaction to Arpat's Oscars submission has been mixed, with some citizens applauding the selection with the hope the film will showcase Thai culture and Buddhism to the world, while others are saying that it should not represent the country due to its prior controversy.

The Oscar Awards will take place Feb 26, 2017. Some 80 countries are expected to submit films for the Foreign Film category. No Thai film has ever made the longlist of nine films or shortlist of five for the awards. 

Check out the Twitter announcement from the Federation of Thai Film Associations and the 'Arpat' trailer below:



See also: 3 Thai movies place in BBC list of 21st century's top films