Thailand’s Bad Genius won the Best Feature award in the Main Competition of the 16th New York Asian Film Festival. The international premiere of the high-school thriller opened the 17-day festival on June 30. Director Nattawut “Baz” Poonpiriya attended the awards ceremony on Saturday, June 15. The festival concluded July 16 with the U.S. Premiere of The Villainess.
Bad Genius was among seven feature films nominated in the festival’s newly launched Main Competition, which was restricted to films by first- and second-time directors; all seven films received their North American Premiere at the festival. The competition’s Special Mention award went to Yoshiyuki Kishi’s A Double Life from Japan, and an Honorable Mention for Most Promising Director went to Le Binh Giang for Vietnam’s Kfc.
The four other films competing in the seven-film competition were Mikhail Red’s Birdshot from the Philippines, Chen Mei-juin’s The Gangster’s Daughter from Taiwan, Cho Hyun-hoon’s Jane from South Korea, and Andrew Wong Kwok-kuen’s With Prisoners from Hong Kong. Red and Chen were among more than 30 directors, actors, producers and screenwriters who attended the festival.
Samuel Jamier, the festival’s executive director said, “The seven films represent the breadth of our lineup. Each title explores pressing ethical issues with protagonists who push back against a staid or corrupt status quo. We hope that the films’ ambition, confidence and bravura can inspire other filmmakers and festival programmers.”
Naoko Ogigami’s transgender drama Close-Knit (Japan) won the audience award. Second- and third placed in the audience vote are Shinobu Yaguchi’s post apocalyptic comedy Survival Family (Japan) and Thai thriller Bad Genius.