How to Win at Checkers (Every Time)
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“Compelling. ” — Gay Star News
“A winning drama about loss of innocence.” — The Hollywood Reporter
THAILAND’S SUBMISSION FOR
BEST FOREIGN FILM TO THE 2016 ACADEMY AWARDS
In this acclaimed gay drama from writer-director Josh Kim, boyfriends Ek and Jai face being drafted into the Thai military. Seen through the eyes of Ek’s younger brother, this bittersweet coming-of-age story portrays the gritty realities of life in Bangkok as it unfolds a riveting dramatic portrayal of poverty and privilege, corruption and compromises.
Superstar Thai actor-model Toni Rakkaen headlines this striking debut feature from Korean-American writer-director Josh Kim. As the now grown Oat, he recalls his childhood experience of trying to rescue his gay older brother Ek (Thira Chutikul) from being drafted into military service. Ek works at a bar for male hustlers and sex-workers, and he has also found love with his more privileged boyfriend Jai (Arthur Navarat). When the moment of truth arrives with the draft lottery these 21-year-olds must draw either a black or a red slip to possibly be conscripted into the armed forces. Who will be sent off to the service and who will get to stay home?
How To Win at Checkers (Every Time) unfolds a riveting dramatic portrayal of poverty and privilege, corruption and compromises as it conveys a bittersweet coming-of-age story.
The film also features stellar performances from Ingkarat “Ryu” Damrongsakkul as the 11 year-old Oat and Natarat Lakha “Nut” as the irrepressible trans woman Kitty who is best friends with Jai and Ek and an older sister figure to Oat.
Told with an exquisite craftsmanship from the younger brother’s point of view, this beautiful drama takes a refreshingly unadorned and impartial look at an essentially loving environment where social conditions are governed by venality, corruption and false ideals. Based on the stories from the bestselling book Sightseeing by Rattawut Lapcharoensap, the film is set in the economic fringes of Bangkok and examines the joys and challenges of growing up in contemporary Thailand.
- Documentary Short: "Draft Day"
“A winning drama about loss of innocence.” – The Hollywood Reporter
“Deeply felt tale of fraternal bonds splintered by social inequality reps a confident feature-length debut for the Texas-born Kim, who brings both non-native objectivity and a traveler’s eye for geographic detail to the pic’s earthy Bangkok setting.” – Variety
“One of the year’s best Thai movies…Heart-warming, bittersweet tale of orphaned brothers growing up.”- The Nation
“The film has an elegiac tone, shot in warm hazy light that captures both Thailand’s vivid natural beauty and its stark poverty… It’s gritty without being exploitative, and as a story that treads a line between incendiary subjects it is admirable in its restraint.” – Eye for Film
Audience Award, Best Feature
Atlanta Out on Film
Best Director (Tie)
Atlanta Out on Film
Best Narrative Feature
Long Beach Q Film Festival
International Jury Award
Bill Sherwood Award for Best First Feature
INSIDE OUT, TORONTO INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL
Audience Award, Best International Feature
FILM OUT SAN DIEGO
Audience Award, Best Feature
Los Angeles Asian American Pacific Film Festival
Special Jury Mention
Torino LGBT Film Festival
Tel Aviv Int’l LGBT Film Festival
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