North American rights to Prachya Pinkaew's "Chocolate" have been acquired by Magnet Releasing. The film, which premiered in the Midnight Madness section at the Toronto International Film Festival and just won the Audience Award runner-up prize at Fantastic Fest, will be released theatrically in 2009. Pinkaew is best known for his 2005 release "Onk Bak: The Thai Warrior." indieWIRE published a dispatch from Fantastic Fest this morning.
"Chocolate" stars newcomer Jeeja Vismistananda as an autistic girl who learns Muay Thai via a marathon screening of Tony Jaa and Bruce Lee films. Vismistananda trained for five years for the role.
"Magnet has had a long tradition of debuting action stars like Tony Jaa, Dan Chupong, David Belle, Marko Zaror, and now we're fortunate enough to launch our first female action star: Jeeja Vismistananda," said Magnolia Senior Vice President Tom Quinn, in a statement. "'Chocolate' proves Jeeja is as hard hitting as the big boys and fans will be delighted by Prachya's return to kick ass action."
The deal was negotiated by Magnolia's Quinn with Gilbert Lim representing Sahamongkolfilm International. Magnet is the recently launched genre arm of Magnolia Pictures, specializing in films from the vanguard of horror, action, comedy and Asian cinema. Other notable films on their slate include Oliver Blackburn's "Donkey Punch" and Toby Wikins' "Splinter."