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B.C. film Riceboy Sleeps snares six Canadian Screen Award nominations, including best motion picture and achievement in direction

Seung-Yoon Choi and Ethan Hwang play a mother and son in the immigrant drama Riceboy Sleeps, which captured a half-dozen Canadian Screen Award nominations.

A poignant B.C. film about a Korean single mom raising her son in Canada has secured six Canadian Screen Awards nominations, including one for best motion picture.

Riceboy Sleeps is based in part on Vancouver actor, writer, and director Anthony Shim‘s childhood. He has received three of the film’s six nominations—achievement in direction, original screenplay, and achievement in editing. In addition to directing and writing, Shim played the role of Simon. It was filmed in the Vancouver area, as well as in South Korea.

Meanwhile, the actor who played the mother, Seung-Yoon Choi, is up for a Canadian Screen Award for performance in a leading role. And Christopher Low was nominated for achievement in cinematography for his work on the film. Two actors—Ethan Hwang and Dohyun Noel Hwang—played the son in Riceboy Sleeps.

Watch the trailer for Riceboy Sleeps.

Last year, Riceboy Sleeps won top Canadian film honours at the Vancouver International Film Festival.

Moreover, members of the Vancouver Critics Circle voted it as the best B.C. film. In addition, the Vancouver Critics Circle named Shim as best director of a B.C. film, and Choi as best female actor in a Canadian film.

Riceboy Sleeps tells the story of racism inflicted on a boy, as well as his efforts to learn more about his father. It’s the only B.C. film among the finalists for best feature at the Canadian Screen Awards.

The other nominees are Babysitter, Brother (adapted from a novel by Simon Fraser University English professor David Chariandy), Falcon Lake, Summer With Hope, and Viking.

Joey Haywood
For many years, Joey Haywood, a.k.a. King Handles, dazzled streetball fans with his play on the court at Kits Beach.

Three nominations for Handle With Care

Meanwhile, a film with a strong Vancouver connection, Handle With Care: The Legend of the Notic Streetball Crew, is nominated for the Ted Rogers best feature length documentary prize. Directed by Surrey natives Jeremy Schaulin-Rioux and Kirk Thomas, it told the story of a bunch of Vancouver streetball wizards. They were led by Joey Haywood, a.k.a. King Handles, who gained fame on the Kitsilano Beach court.

It’s an unforgettable tale discrimination and redemption, much of which played out in Vancouver.

The film’s producer, former Vancouver resident Ryan Sidhoo, earlier made a short film on Haywood called “Down with the King”. Sidhoo revealed how local basketball fans loved Haywood’s wildly imaginative play. However, some some white coaches reviled it as too flashy.

Haywood, on the other hand, felt he was simply expressing his Trinidadian-Canadian identity on the court.

Watch Ryan Sidhoo’s short film “Down with the King”.

The full-length documentary, Handle With Care, expanded on Haywood’s story while sharing life trajectories of other members of The Notic. They included Jermaine Foster, Rory Grace, Andrewe Liew, David Mubanda, Jonathan Mubanda, Daughin Ngongo, Jamal Parker, and Mohammed Wenn.

The basketball film is also nominated for best editing in a feature documentary (Schaulin-Rioux) and best original music in a feature documentary (Edo Vanbreemen, Johannes Winkler).

Strong docs compete for Ted Rogers award

Handle With Care faces stiff competition in its category from Nisha Pahuja’s To Kill a Tiger, which Pancouver covered earlier this month; Jeremiah Hayes’s heart-rending documentary on dementia, Dear Audrey; Noura Kevorkian’s riveting refugee saga Batata; and Emanuel Licha’s road movie on Haiti, Zo reken.

Another B.C. film, Until Branches Bend, received a best adapted screenplay nomination for Vancouver writer-director Sophie Jarvis. In addition, a nomination for achievement in visual effects went to Landon Bootsma, Dexter Davey, Ashley Hampton, Milton Muller, and Dmitry Vinnik.

Jarvis filmed Until Branches Bend in and around Penticton in 2021.

To read the complete list of nominations, visit the Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television website. The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation will broadcast the 2023 Canadian Screen Awards on April 16 after a week of awards presentations in Toronto.

Follow Pancouver editor Charlie Smith on Twitter @charliesmithvcr. Follow Pancouver on Twitter @PancouverMedia.

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Charlie Smith

Charlie Smith

Pancouver editor Charlie Smith has worked as a Vancouver journalist in print, radio, and television for more than three decades.

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We would like to acknowledge that we are gathered on the traditional and unceded territories of the Coast Salish peoples of the xʷməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish), and Səl̓ílwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations. With this acknowledgement, we thank the Indigenous peoples who still live on and care for this land.