Thai rising star Ananda Everingham is set to star in Sabaidee, Luang Prabang, a Thailand-Laos co-production which marks the first feature film from Laos in over three decades.

The $319,000 (10m baht) production is co-produced by Lao Art Media and Thailand 's Sparta Creative. Established in 2000, the Laotian company was a pioneer in the local music industry. Founder Anousone Sirisackda who studied film-directing in Ukraine in the 1980s before returning home to serve the Ministry of Information and Culture, now aims to revive the film industry.

The new film is about a young man's love affair with Laos and its people. Everingham plays a Laotian-Australian (as in his real life) who returns to his father's homeland on an assignment to photograph scenic places such as Li Phi and Khone Phapeng Waterfalls, Sii Pan Dan (Four Thousand Islands) and Mekong River. He falls in love with a young guide and becomes re-acquainted with his cousins along the way.

Shooting is scheduled to begin in November on Everingham's return from Pusan where he is currently attending Star Summit Asia. A tentative release is scheduled for April 2008.

Thai writer-director Sakchai Deenan is directing. He previously co-directed 2005's Promise Me Not, a romantic comedy about a star-crossed couple who swears to love each other in the next life for the now-defunct Matching Motion Studios. He also co-wrote last year's horror Cadaver.

Laos spent years in isolation since its monarchy was overthrown in 1975.