“A Fool,” the directorial debut of Chinese actor Chen Jianbin, will get its U.S. premiere later this month at the New York Asian Film Festival and is set for a theatrical release in North America later in the year through China Lion Distribution.

The film is based on a popular novella about a shepherd whose son is arrested and whose attempt to put together a bribe for his son’s release sets off a chain of worsening events. It earned Chen the best director prize at the Golden Horse Awards in Taiwan last year.

But it has remained unreleased due to the arrest earlier this year of Wang Xuebing on drug charges. China has stepped up a crackdown on immoral behavior by stars and performers and has halted the release of several films they appear in.

In March Chen appeared to accept that his film would not be released in China. However, Chen is understood to be re-editing the picture for its China release. Now both China Lion and sales agency Ablaze Image say that it is set for a Greater China release, including the Chinese mainland, late in 2015.

As an actor Chen has won multiple awards for his performances in “Paradise in Service,” “Chrysanthemum Tea,” “People Mountain, People Sea,” “Driverless” and the popular TV series “Three Kingdoms.”

China Lion acquired rights directly from the production house Shandong Jiabo Culture Development Company.

“We look forward to opening the film in the coming months and giving audiences in the United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand a chance to experience this amazing piece of filmmaking,” said Robert Lundberg, COO of China Lion.