Strand Releasing has snapped up North American distribution rights to Singaporean filmmaker Anthony Chen’s latest Cannes favorite film The Ice Breaking. The film had its world premiere in May in Cannes’ Un Certain Regard section, with the hollywood reporterSubsequently, critics selected it as one of the 20 best films screened at the festival this year.
The ice that breaks tells the story of a fleeting and unlikely friendship formed between three restless young men in the border city of Yanji, in the far northeast of China. It is headlined by a star-studded ensemble of young Chinese talent, including Zhou Dongyu (Oscar nominee Better days), Liu Haoran (the detective chinatown franchise) and Qu Chuxiao (the wandering earth).
Chen previously won the Caméra d’Or at Cannes with his debut feature ilo ilo (2013), which was later submitted by Singapore as its entry into the Oscars’ best international film race. His second feature wet season premiered in Toronto and its debut in English, Drift, leaned at Sundance earlier this year. The Breaking Ice is his first feature film shot entirely in mainland China, a project that took him far beyond his creative comfort zone. In an interview with THRChen described the film as his “love letter” to China’s restless youth.
THRThe critic praised the film, writing, “Chen returns here to the softer observational style and quiet intimacy of his magnificent domestic drama, Ilo Ilo… Rich in feeling but never emotionally emphatic. The ice that breaks has an uncluttered narrative simplicity that is reflected in the filming style and is nicely offset by the nuanced complexity of the relationships.”
He added: “The characters of the new film, a woman and two men in their early twenties, played with exquisite restraint by three attractive and impeccably naturalistic actors, are afflicted with sorrows, frustrations and anxieties that are rarely expressed, but their many moments of introspection reveal as much as they hide.”
Strand Releasing says it is planning a theatrical release for The ice that breaks in late 2023 or early 2024. Strand’s Jon Gerrans and Rediance’s Fen Chen, the Chinese company handling worldwide sales for the film, signed the deal.
“We are absolutely delighted to represent The breaking CIe for North America and have had a long productive relationship with Anthony as colleagues and management wet seasonsaid Marcus Hu of Strand Releasing.
In addition to closing deals for France, South Korea, Switzerland, Greece, Italy, Hong Kong previously, The ice that breaks it has also been sold to Japan (New Select), Spain (Filmin), Sweden (novemberfilm) and Encore Inflight has taken over worldwide air rights.
Produced by Canopy Pictures and co-financed by Huace Pictures, the film is targeting a significant release in mainland China on August 22. In Singapore, it will be released by Giraffe Pictures, with theatrical releases in other territories soon to follow.
Strand Releasing is headquartered in Culver City, California. Other recent acquisitions include Pierre Creton’s A princewhich was featured in this year’s Directors’ Fortnight and is currently in release, and the Sundance Award Muttopening in August.