Bangkok start-up sales company, GMT Entertainment, has signed up to handle international rights for Suriyothai, the royal epic with a production budget in excess of $20m making it by far the most expensive Thai film ever made.

The creation of a much-needed sales company in Thailand will be a shot in the arm for the escalating international appeal and distribution of Thai films. GMT, will represent Thai as well as other Asian films in the international market place.

Directed and written by Prince Chatri Chalerm Yukol, Suriyothai is expected to smash every previous box office record in Thailand when it is released on August 17. No international sales will be sealed until after the domestic release although both New Line Cinema and Miramax have expressed an interest in the film following exposure at the Cannes Film Festival.

GMT has also agreed to take on the new slate of films from Mongkol Films, Thailand's biggest independent distributor and exhibitor. Mongkol, which will release Suriyothai in Thailand, has recently re-launched its production arm and expects to produce 8-10 titles a year.

Run by Gerald Dibbayawan, GMT Entertainment will officially launch at MIFED where it is selling Suriyothai and two other as yet undisclosed projects. Australian Dibbayawan was formerly general manager Asia for Village Roadshow and has spent six years working in the region.

"There are some very talented movie makers in Asia. There is a need to give them a voice on the international stage, and that is what GMT Entertainment is all about," says Dibbayawan. "GMT aims to build a reputation for bringing the best of Asian cinema to the world. The key for us is not just to get the sales for the producers, but to build a profile for Asian films which will be sustainable in the long term. That is why we will be working with producers who have a philosophy that emphasises quality cinema and are not just seeking to cash in the current wave of enthusiasm for Asian films".