From the relatively small pond of Singapore, filmmaker Anthony Chen ventures into the enormous Chinese film market.
The 37-year-old Singaporean director, best known for his critically acclaimed dramas Ilo Ilo (2013) and Rainy season (2019), has just completed production of his first feature film in mainland China, The breaking ice.
Written and directed by Chen, the film follows the blossoming relationship between three young adults in their twenties during a few short days of heavy winter snowfall. The film stars a trio of Chinese celebrities: actress Zhou Dongyu (known for her blockbusters Better days and us and them) and actors Liu Haoran (the Chinatown Detective franchise) and Qu Chuxiao (The Wandering Earth, love will separate us).
The film, which has remained secret until now, was shot in Yanji, a border town in the far north of China, and production just wrapped in January.
Chen has formed a new Chinese production banner, Canopy Pictures, with Chinese producer Meng Xie. Co-funded canopy The breaking ice alongside Chinese heavyweight Huace Pictures.
Huace Pictures will handle distribution of the film in mainland China, while Beijing-based sales agent Rediance will handle global sales.
Chen won the Cannes Camera d’Or with Ilo Ilohis first feature film, in 2013. His second feature film Rainy season presented in competition at the Toronto International Film Festival. Both films were selected as Singapore’s official Oscar submissions. His most recent work was a contribution to Neon’s COVID-era omnibus feature, Year of the Eternal Stormwhich will premiere in Cannes in 2021.