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Vancouver director Anthony Shim’s Riceboy Sleeps wins best Canadian film award and $100,000 cash prize from Toronto critics

Riceboy Sleeps
Dohyun Noel Hwang is one of two actors who plays Dong-Hyun in Riceboy Sleeps.

A family drama filmed in Vancouver about a boy coping with racism has won the most lucrative film prize in Canada. Last night, the Toronto Film Critics Association named Riceboy Sleeps as winner of the Rogers Best Canadian Film Award. It comes with a $100,000 cheque.

Vancouver director Anthony Shim wrote and directed this semi-autobiographical story, which was also filmed in South Korea. It will be released in theatres on March 17.

The film revolves around a Korean single mother, played by Seung-Yoon Choi, and her son. He’s played as a boy by Dohyun Noel Hwang and as a youth by Ethan Hwang, who accepted the award on Shim’s behalf last night in Toronto.

Rogers Communications gave $5,000 to each of the two runners-up: directors Clement Virgo (Brother) and David Cronenberg (Crimes of the Future).

Anthony Shim by Lawrence Cortez (@lawrencejcortez)
Vancouver director Anthony Shim picked up three Canadian Screen Awards nominations for Riceboy Sleeps. Photo by Lawrence Cortez (@lawrencejcortez).

Riceboy Sleeps has also received six Canadian Screen Awards nominations, including best motion picture. The winners will be announced in a CBC broadcast on April 16.

Meanwhile, Shim has been nominated for three Canadian Screen Awards for achievement in direction, original screenplay, and achievement in editing. Choi is a finalist for performance in a leading role and Christopher Low is nominated for achievement in cinematography.

Riceboy Sleeps already won the top Canadian film award at last year’s Vancouver International Film Festival. In addition, the Vancouver Critics Circle voted Shim as the best director of a B.C. film and Choi as best female actor in a Canadian film.

This year, the Canadian Screen Awards has eliminated gender categories for actors.

Watch the trailer for Riceboy Sleeps.

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.