NYAFF Announces Opening Film, First Award Honoree
Subway Cinema announced the 20th Anniversary edition of the New York Asian Film Festival (NYAFF) will kick off on July 15 with the international premiere of the propulsively-paced Thai romantic comedy Fast & Feel Love, directed by Nawapol Thamrongrattanarit.
The director will be joined at Lincoln Center on opening night by his leading actress, Urassaya “Yaya” Sperbund, who is being honored with the Screen International Rising Star award.
In Fast & Feel Love, Sperbund plays the supportive girlfriend of a world champion sport stacker (Nat Kitcharit) who only has time for his game. When she finally comes to her senses and dumps him, he must learn basic adulting skills to find a way to win her back.
“This is the perfect film for an opening that marks a true return to theaters as well as NYAFF’s 20th anniversary,” said Samuel Jamier, Executive Director of NYAFF and President of the New York Asian Film Foundation, in remarks to Screen International, which broke the news.
“Nearly as fast-moving as its sport-stacking protagonist, it hits all the right notes, from broad humor to poignant drama, and gives every character a show-stopping moment or two — as well as hilarious and clever cinephile moments. As the film says, sport stacking is genderless, ageless and border-free, which is a real game-changer.”
Jamier also commented, “Yaya, already an established star in the region, takes it to another level here with her impeccable comic timing and genuine moments of emotion, and of course this most rare of qualities: screen presence. In this respect, giving her the Screen International Rising Star award makes perfect sense and is also a precedent in that we’re giving it to a star who is rising higher than where she was, rather than a star-to-be.”
The Thai-Norwegian actress is known for roles in popular TV series and films such as Witthaya Thongyooyong’s Brother of the Year, as well as for a successful modeling career.
Over the past 20 years, NYAFF has showcased a range of Thai films, including writer-director Thamrongrattanarit’s Heart Attack (NYAFF 2016). He is also known for such international festival favorites as Mary Is Happy, Mary Is Happy, Die Tomorrow and Happy Old Year. His Fast & Feel Love is the second title from Thailand to open the festival, after Nattawut Poonpiriya’s Bad Genius in 2017.
NYAFF’s 20th Anniversary edition runs from July 15-28 at Lincoln Center, the festival’s home for the past decade.
The full lineup will be unveiled in June