A Thai-directed melodrama produced by Hong Kong auteur Wong Kar-wai won critical acclaim abroad and brought the Thailand's first-ever Sundance Film Festival honor.

As the annual festival lowered its digital curtains this morning—held virtually for the first time in 43 years—the only participating Thai-language film, One for the Road, was awarded the World Dramatic Special Jury Award: Creative Vision, which was one of three awards it was nominated.

It was also the first movie with a Thai director to win at Sundance. 

Directed by Nattawut “Baz” Poonpiriya—best known for his critically acclaimed exam-cheating thriller Bad Genius and produced by Hong Kong filmmaker-slash-auteur Wong Kar-wai—the film chronicles two friends who reunite for a road trip during which one finds out the other has terminal cancer. The story later swerves to address romance, reconciliation and a troubled past.

The star-studded casts include heartthrob Thanapob “Tor” Thanapob, Natara “Ice” Nopparatayapon, Violette Wautier, Ploi Horwang, and Chutimon “Aokbab” Chuengcharoensukying, who played the main protagonist in Bad Genius

Baz said earlier that, as the director, his mission is to drive himself “down the memory lane” since the story is loosely based on his own experiences. He has also described it as his “most personal film to date.”

Entertainment Weekly named it one of Sundance’s 12 must-watch movies, detailing, “What begins as a bucket-list road trip through Thailand morphs into something much more complex in [Baz]’s rousing, life-affirming buddy movie, a touching reminder of the power we all have to correct our mistakes — and to save each other.”

No domestic release date has been announced, but One for the Road is expected to open in Thai theaters later this year.


This story first appeared on Coconuts Bangkok.