SINGAPORE: Boo Junfeng’s sophomore feature Apprentice did not come away completely empty-handed when it failed to pick up an award at the recent Cannes Film Festival.
Following its premiere in the progressive Un Certain Regard section of the festival, where it received positive feedback from film critics and a standing ovation, the prison drama also got picked up for distribution in the UK and Ireland.
Arrow Films, a multi-platform distributor of feature films and TV series, picked up the distribution rights to the film in these markets after being “totally struck by director Boo Junfeng’s power and skilful execution”, according to Arrow’s acquisition director Tom Stewart.
This is yet another feather in Apprentice’s cap, adding on to a packed international theatrical release schedule that includes Poland, Mexico, Turkey, Greece and Hong Kong. Boo’s tale about the relationship between a young correctional officer and the chief executioner of a prison opened in France on Wednesday and is scheduled to hit Singapore cinemas at the end of this month.
“The positive reviews so far have been very helpful.” Boo told Channel NewsAsia. “I'm very happy the film will be seen in cinemas in all these territories. I’m especially thrilled that my friends in the UK will be able to see the film in theatres.”
He revealed that a US theatrical release is also being worked on.
Boo is touted as one of Asia’s fastest rising directorial talents. Apprentice is the follow-up to his critically acclaimed debut Sandcastle and is a Singapore/Germany/France/Hong Kong/Qatar co-production. Shot in both Singapore and Australia, the film is an international collaborative effort with French cinematographer Benoit Soler and British production designer James Page.
It stars Malaysian film and stage veteran Wan Hanafi Su and Singaporean newcomer Firdaus Rahman. Singapore auteur Eric Khoo is executive producer and Akanga Film Asia’s Fran Borgia and Peanut Pictures’ Raymond Phathanavirangoon are serving as producers.