Fresh off its premiere in Singapore, The Breaking Ice has been selected as Singapore's entry to the 96th Academy Awards (popularly known as the Oscars) in the Best International Film category.
The film, directed and written by Singaporean filmmaker Anthony Chen, follows the blossoming relationship among three young adults who are exploring their feelings for each other while confronting their individual traumas.
It stars Chinese actors Zhou Dongyu, Liu Haoran, and Qu Chuxiao.
This marks the third time Chen’s film has been selected as Singapore's entry for the Best International Film category. His previous works - Ilo Ilo (2013) and Wet Season (2019) - were selected for the same category, but unfortunately, didn't make the final list of nominees.
Justin Ang, assistant chief executive of Media, Innovation, Communications and Marketing, IMDA, said he is “truly proud of our passionate homegrown talent who have found recognition on the world stage” and looks forward to “hearing good news at the 2024's Oscars”.
Chen, who was invited to join the prestigious Academy of the Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in June, added, “It is an honour once again to be selected as Singapore's Oscar submission and also even more meaningful in a year when I have been invited into The Academy.
“This film wouldn't have been possible without the creative talents and passion of our very international team. I look forward to sharing this film with audiences in the States and around the world.”
Anthony Chen's push out of his comfort zone
The Breaking Ice was conceived due to Chen’s desire to push himself out of his comfort zone. He gathered the cast and crew even before there was a script, and he almost backed out because of the pressure.
In a previous interview with Yahoo Southeast Asia, Chen, 39, said, “There was a lot of self doubt in the process… There were moments where I was calling friends in Singapore, I was calling my Chinese producing partner and going like, 'This might be too crazy an idea. Maybe we should just stop this. And then I just say that I got COVID, I tested positive, and then I just run out of China'.”
Thankfully, the film has become a hit among reviewers and got a seven-minute standing ovation at this year's Cannes Film Festival.
Chen told Yahoo that he is proud of the talent coming out of Singapore but feels that more support is required for filmmaking and it has to be less “transactional”.
He shared, “When you try and ask for something, it's always transactional, it costs a lot. And then, when you try and get audiences into the cinemas, it almost feels like every time we have to sort of beg people to come look at us, you know?”
Chen also pointed out that the success of Singapore cinema on a global stage “shouldn't just hang on the shoulders of just a few filmmakers, or producers, or the small film community”.
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