Thai producer-distributor Extra Virgin and the independent film community have revived the Director’s Screen project which aims to give commercial releases to local and international arthouse films in Bangkok.

In cooperation with Thai exhibitor SF Cinemas, the initiative will start by distributing three internationally-acclaimed titles from Thailand: Anocha Suwichakornpong’s debut feature Mundane History, Uruphong Raksasad’s Agrarian Utopia and Aditya Assarat’s short film Phuket.

Mundane History, which opens on August 5, has won several festival prizes this year including a Tiger Award at Rotterdam. Also a festival favourite, Agrarian Utopia opens on Sept 2, while Phuket, which stars Korean actress Lim Soo-Jung and Thai actor Sorapong Chatre, will open on Sept 30. Phuket will screen with two other shorts from Assarat – Boy Genius and The Sigh.

All the films will enjoy a four-week run at SFX Cinema, The Emporium in Bangkok. The programme was initially set to use SF World Cinema in the Central World shopping mall, but the site has been closed since arson attacks during civil unrest in May and is not scheduled to reopen until October at the earliest.  

The Director’s Screen organisers have secured backing from Thailand’s Office of Contemporary Art and Culture, Ministry of Culture and Singapore’s ACD Network. They aim to release more titles in subsequent phases of the project over the coming year.

Director’s Screen was first launched at SF World in 2008 with the release of two Thai films: Assarat’s Wonderful Town and Pimpaka Towira’s The Truth Be Told: The Cases Against Supinya Klangnarong.

Meanwhile, Thailand’s recent Cannes Palme d’Or winner, Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives, directed by Apichatpong Weerasethakul, is set for release this Friday in Bangkok via the director’s own company Kick The Machine.

The film was given a 15+ rating by local censors, but has been left uncut, unlike Apichatpong’s previous films Blissfully Yours and Syndromes And A Century. Uncle Boonmee will also screen at SFX Emporium for a period of four weeks.