Kirsten Tan’s debut feature POP AYE, which had its world premiere at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival in the World Dramatic section has been acquired by Kino Lorber for release in the U.S. The company is planning to bring POP AYE to North American theaters during the summer, before a VOD and physical media release later this year.
A road movie set in Thailand, POP AYE tells the story of an over-the-hill architect and his attempt to bring his long-lost elephant back to their rural hometown. Written and directed by Singaporean writer-director Kirsten Tan, currently based in New York, POP AYE was the opening night title in the World Dramatic section.
Director Kirsten Tan said: “My producers and I have long admired the library of Kino Lorber. We are very excited for POP AYE to be in the company of wonderful films such as Dogtooth, Days of Being Wild, and Jafar Panahi’s Taxi. We look forward to sharing the film with US audiences.”
POP AYE Thana, a once-illustrious architect, drifts ever further into existential crisis, propelled by the impending demolition of his proudest work and his wife’s waning romantic interest. Unexpectedly running into his long-lost childhood “pet” elephant Popeye, performing in the streets of Bangkok, spurs Thana on a quest across Thailand to return his displaced friend to rural Loei, the small village where they grew up. As the unlikely travelers saunter at elephant speed, they encounter fellow lost souls, like a gas station vagabond yearning for his first love and a lonely karaoke singer aching for a friend, who encourage them as a series of unfortunate mishaps impede their journey.
Pop Aye is a humane ode to the power of simple acts of kindness in a world of lost innocence and missed opportunities, punctuated by well-timed bursts of deadpan absurdity. Director Kirsten Tan, in her impressive feature debut, deftly weaves the poignance and humor of Popeye and Thana’s journey with a series of indelibly beautiful cinematic images of the film’s gigantic star in this lyrical road-trip dramedy.