The Toronto International Film Festival announced today that Korean-Canadian filmmaker Anthony Shim’s sophomore feature RICEBOY SLEEPS was awarded the Platform Prize at this year’s festival. Platform is TIFF’s competitive programme that champions bold directorial visions from filmmakers around the globe, from first-time to veteran auteurs. Ten films were selected to the programme and an award of $20,000 CAD was given to the best film in the program selected by an international in-person jury.
“Throughout, Shim expertly balances the very different perspectives of a boy and his mother, poignantly capturing his loneliness and frustration, her isolation and sacrifices. Compassionate and poetic, Riceboy Sleeps has the emotional scope of a classic Bildungsroman, signalling the arrival of a significant new Canadian filmmaker,” TIFF’s Steve Gravestock refers to the film on their website.
The world premiere of RICEBOY SLEEPS took place at TIFF on September, 11th, 2022 and continued to play to sold out audiences throughout the festival. The film follows a South Korean mother and son as they struggle with their new life in 1990s Canada. RICEBOY SLEEPS stars Ethan Hwang (The Umbrella Academy), Anthony Shim (Zoe) and newcomers Dohyun Noel Hwang and Yoon. Yoon was selected as a TIFF Rising Star and Share Her Journey Fellow for her breakout performance as So-young in the film.
“I am thrilled to have Riceboy Sleeps recognized by the programmers, the Platform jury and by audiences at this year’s TIFF, it was amazing to see the reaction to the film our team worked so hard on and that is such a deeply personal project,” says Shim, who directed, wrote, edited, produced and starred in the film.
Previous Platform selections include Hany Abu-Assad’s Huda’s Salon (2021), Kamila Andini’s Yuni (2021), Darius Marder’s Sound of Metal (2019), Alice Winocour’s Proxima (2019), Kazik Radwanski’s Anne at 13,000 Ft. (2019), Sarah Gavron’s Rocks (2019), Armando Iannucci’s The Death of Stalin (2017), Pablo Larraín’s Jackie (2016), Barry Jenkins’ Moonlight (2016), William Oldroyd’s Lady Macbeth (2016) and Ben Wheatley’s High-Rise (2015). RICEBOY SLEEPS is the second Canadian film in the award’s history to take the prize following Alan Zeiwg’s Hurt (2015) which won the inaugural year.
“We are so incredibly honoured to share this film with Canadian audiences,” added Game Theory Film’s Hilary Hart. “As soon as we read the script we knew Riceboy Sleeps was something special. In telling this deeply personal story, Anthony has tapped into something both intimate and deeply relatable, and shared an important perspective on the immigrant experience in this country. We are deeply grateful to the TIFF programmers and the Platform Jury for shining a light on this beautiful work.”
RICEBOY SLEEPS was filmed in Vancouver and South Korea, is distributed by Game Theory Films in Canada and Sphere Films International is handling international sales. RICEBOY SLEEPS is produced by Lonesome Heroes Productions, Kind Stranger Productions, A Lasting Dose Productions and features the talents of director of photography Christopher Lew (Quickening) who shot on 16mm, composer Andrew Yong Hoon Lee and production designer Louisa Birkin (Two Sentence Horror Stories). Producers are Rebecca Steele, Bryan Demore, Anthony Shim, Co-Producer is Andrea Agur, and Executive Producers are Giuliana Bertuzzi, Matt Kerr and Charlie Kerr.
RICEBOY SLEEPS will continue its festival run with screenings at FIN in Halifax, VIFF for its hometown premiere in Vancouver, CIFF in Calgary, Cinéfest in Sudbury and Busan for its International premiere. The film will be heading to theatres in 2023. RICEBOY SLEEPS was made possible through the support of Telefilm Canada, CRAVE, CBC and Harold Greenberg Fund.