Anthony Chen's "The Breaking Ice" Acquired by Strand Releasing for North American Distribution (Exclusive)

Anthony Chen’s “The Breaking Ice” Acquired by Strand Releasing for North American Distribution (Exclusive)

Strand Releasing has secured North American distribution rights to Singaporean director Anthony Chen’s recent Cannes favorite The Breaking the Ice. The film had its world premiere in May in the Un Certain Regard section of Cannes, with The Hollywood Reportercritics later selected it as one of the top 20 films screened at the festival this year.

The Breaking the Ice tells the story of an unlikely and fleeting friendship born between three restless young men in the city of Yanji, on the far northeastern border of China. It stars an all-star cast of young Chinese talents, including Zhou Dongyu (Oscar nominee Better days), Liu Haoran (il Chinatown Detectives franchise) and Qu Chuxiao (The Wandering Earth).

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Chen had previously won the Cannes Caméra d’Or award with his first feature film Ilo Ilo (2013), which was later submitted by Singapore as an entry to the Best International Film Oscar race. His second feature film Wet season debuted in Toronto and her English-language debut, Drift, he bowed at Sundance earlier this year. The Breaking Ice is his first feature film shot entirely in mainland China, a project that has taken him far beyond his creative comfort zone. In an interview with DAYChen described the film as his “love letter” to China’s restless youth.

DAYThe critic of praised the film, writing, “Chen returns here to the gentler observational style and subdued intimacy of his wonderful domestic drama, Ilo Ilo… Rich in soulfulness but never emotionally emphatic, The Breaking the Ice it has an uncluttered narrative simplicity that is mirrored in the style of filming and well offset by the nuanced complexity of the relationships.

He added, “The characters in the new film – a woman and two men in their 20s, played with exquisite restraint by three handsome and impeccably naturalistic actors – are afflicted with rarely articulated pains, frustrations and anxieties, but their many moments of introspection reveal as much as they hide.”

Strand Releasing says it is planning a theatrical release for The Breaking the Ice in late 2023 or early 2024. The deal was finalized by Strand’s Jon Gerrans and Fen Chen of Rediance, the Chinese company handling the film’s worldwide sales.

“We are absolutely thrilled to represent The breakdown of the ICand for North America and have had a long productive relationship with Anthony as colleagues and handlers Wet season,” said Marcus Hu of Strand Releasing.

Besides concluding agreements for France, South Korea, Switzerland, Greece, Italy, Hong Kong previously, The Breaking the Ice it was also sold to Japan (New Select), Spain (Filmin), Sweden (novemberfilm), and worldwide flight rights were acquired by Encore Inflight.

Produced by Canopy Pictures and co-financed by Huace Pictures, the film is slated for a significant release in mainland China on August 22. In Singapore, it will be distributed by Giraffe Pictures, with theatrical releases in other territories to follow soon.

Strand Releasing is headquartered in Culver City, California. Other recent acquisitions include that of Pierre Creton A princefeatured in this year’s Directors’ Fortnight and currently out, and winner of the Sundance award Muttopening in August.