Riceboy Sleeps by Vancouver's Anthony Shim honoured as Best Canadian Film by Toronto Film Critics Association
Vancouver filmmaker Anthony Shim’s Riceboy Sleeps has been named Best Canadian Film at the Toronto Film Critics Association Awards, beating out David Cronenberg’s Crimes of the Future and Clement Virgo’s Brother. With the nod comes a $100,000 cheque.
Riceboy Sleeps tells the story of a Korean single mother raising her young son in the Canadian suburbs in the ’90s amidst racial and cultural challenges. As her child gets older he begins to ask questions about his deceased father and his Korean heritage, leading to conflict at home.
The story is reflective of Shim’s own story, as his family relocated to Canada from Korea in 1994 when he was eight.
In his director’s statement for Riceboy Sleeps he says,
I grew up on Vancouver Island where I was often the only Asian child in school. I was looked at and treated like an alien, this foreign being that intrigued and even frightened people at times due to my ‘foreign-ness’. And yet, I so desperately wanted to be accepted by this predominantly white community that I quickly adapted; I behaved, spoke, and even tried to think like everyone around me. Over time, I became embarrassed in public of my (Korean) food, language, culture and even family. I tried to hide all things Korean about me, thinking if I concealed them well enough then maybe people would stop seeing me as being different. Then much to my surprise I realized simultaneously I was secretly growing a deeper appreciation, a genuine love, and most problematic, and insatiable curiousity for all things Korean”.
Riceboy Sleeps was written and directed by Shim, and stars Choi Seung-yoon, Ethan Hwang, and Dohyun Noel Hwang. Shim, whose debut Daughter was released in 2019, also appears in the film as an actor.
Riceboy Sleeps makes it premiere at theatres across Canada on March 17.