Chen made his feature debut with 2013’s “Ilo Ilo,” which won the Camera D’Or at Cannes, and went on to win a plethora of prizes around the world. The same year, he was chosen as one of Variety’s 10 Directors to Watch.
Chen’s sophomore feature, “Wet Season” will have its world premiere in competition at Toronto’s Platform segment on Sept. 8. Produced by Giraffe Pictures in association with Hooq, Rediance and New Century Influence Films, the film follows a Chinese-language teacher whose marriage and school life are falling apart as she struggles to conceive a child, but an unlikely friendship with a student helps reaffirm her identity. The cast includes “Ilo Ilo” alumni Yeo Yann Yann and Koh Jia Ler.
The deal with Hooq will include film, television and digital content produced or directed by Chen via his Giraffe Pictures outfit.
Hooq is a joint venture between Singtel, Sony Pictures Television and Warner Bros, and currently operates in the Philippines, Thailand, India, Indonesia and Singapore.
While specific projects under the deal were not revealed, Giraffe’s slate includes Singaporean filmmaker He Shuming’s debut feature “Ajoomma,” about a widow finding a new purpose in life who gets lost on a trip to Korea, shooting on location in Korea this winter; award-winning Thai short filmmaker Sorayos Prapapan’s debut feature “Arnold Is a Model Student,” about a high-school student in Bangkok whose perception of morality is changed forever after being involved in cheating during the entrance exam to a prestigious military school, that will shoot in 2020; and several television projects in development, all set in Asia.
“Our partnership with Anthony and Giraffe Pictures underscores Hooq’s commitment to push boundaries through unique, compelling and edgy stories to people across Asia and beyond,” said Hooq CEO Peter Bithos.
“My team and I at Giraffe Pictures are excited to have found like-minded partners in Hooq with the vision of championing young Asian talent and producing regional stories that will resonate with a global audience. We are in discussions for new upcoming projects and can’t wait to announce our next collaboration really soon,” said Chen.
Chen, and producers Huang Wenhong and Tan Si En run Giraffe. The company’s co-production, “Pop Aye,” directed by Singapore’s Kirsten Tan, won awards at Sundance, Rotterdam and Zurich.