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Strand Releasing Buys Cooking Drama ‘Ramen Shop’ for U.S. (EXCLUSIVE)

Strand Releasing has acquired all U.S. rights to Eric Khoo’s drama “Ramen Shop” from MK2 Films, Variety has learned exclusively.

The film, which premiered at this year’s Berlin International Film Festival, will have its North American premiere in New York at Japan Society on July 19 as the opening film of Japan Cuts: Festival of New Japanese Films.

“We are thrilled to premiere ‘Ramen Shop’ as the opening film of this year’s Japan Cuts,” said Aiko Masubuchi, senior film programmer at Japan Society. “Khoo’s touching transnational drama shows how food, like cinema, offers a bridge across cultures and histories. We are honored that he and star Takumi Saitoh will join to share the film with our audiences.”

The movie centers on a young chef who leaves his hometown in Japan to embark on a culinary journey to Singapore to find out the truth about his parents past and a secret recipe that ties the bond to a past generation. The film stars Saitoh, Jeanette Aw, Mark Lee and Beatrice Chien.

The film was produced by Zhao Wei Films, Wild Orange Artists, Version Originale and Comme des Cinemas. Strand plans for a fall 2018 release. The deal was done between Jon Gerrans of Strand Releasing and Fionnuala Jamison of MK2 Films.

“’Ramen Shop’ is a sensitive and beautifully told story about family and culture, one that we are proud to include in our library,” said Gerrans.

Maggie Lee said in her Variety review, “Following a Japanese ramen chef’s journey to Singapore in search of inspiration and his long-lost relatives, the theme is a familiar one — how cooking expresses one’s emotions and brings people closer. Serving Singapore’s most visitor-friendly facet on a plate, it’s the kind of foodie fix that’s a must-have for any festival with a culinary sidebar.”

Khoo’s past films include “Tatsumi,” which premiered in Un Certain Regard in Cannes, and “My Magic,”  which premiered in competition in Cannes, as well as “12 Storeys” and “Mee Pok Mon.” Strand currently has “Zama” by Lucrecia Martel and Ofir Raul Graizer’s “The Cakemaker” in release.

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