With help from Wong Kar Wai, ‘One for the Road’ director Baz Poonpiriya found his voice [SUNDANCE STUDIO]

Months after director Baz Poonpiriya first started working with Wong Kar Wai, the legendary filmmaker came to a realization about his protege. 

“One day he turned to me and said, ‘You know what? I don’t think you believe in this story. You should do something that you totally believe in,’” Poonpiriya tells Gold Derby. “So that’s why I had to go back and come up with this one.”

The suggestion paid off. For his third feature, Poonpiriya mined his own life experiences for the emotional drama “One for the Road,” which premieres at this year’s Sundance Film Festival in the World Cinema Dramatic competition section.

“It now feels like ‘One For The Road’ is the first time that I can express my own voice and feel through this medium,” Poonpiriya said in a statement. “It is a chance for me to turn the filmmaking process into therapy, as this movie is about my own experiences and perceptions on life, work, love, and relationships.”

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“One for the Road” focuses on a pair of estranged friends, Boss (Tor Thanapo) and Aood (Ice Natara) who reunite in Thailand as Aood faces a terminal illness and wishes to revisit his past relationships in an attempt to receive some closure before his death. Told across flashbacks, the film’s structure is episodic and builds to an emotional climax that involves Prim (Violette Wautier), a young woman with close ties to the two friends.

“When I was writing the script with my team I threw everything on the table. We tried our best to put it together until the script was done,” Poonpiriya says. “On that day, I still wasn’t sure if there was a good story in that or a good structure for the film. The final movie is totally something different from what I had in my head.”

“It has been a privilege to be part of this wonderful journey with Baz and his team,” Wong said in a statement. “Baz’s passion for storytelling is evident in ‘One For The Road,’ and we are excited to share his unique vision with audiences worldwide.”

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