China’s Midnight Blur Films has sold the rights to Chinese arthouse title “Wisdom Tooth” to French firm ASC Distribution, which will release it theatrically in France later this year.

The deal also includes theatrical, video and TV rights for Belgium, Switzerland and the French overseas departments and territories.

The debut feature from director Liang Ming premiered at the Pingyao International Film Festival in October, where it received the jury prize and best director award. Its European premiere was at the Rotterdam International Film Festival, where it took part in the Bright Future Competition.

Set during a freezing winter in a hardscrabble fishing town in China’s industrial northeast, the film tells the story of a shifting web of relationships between a young girl, her beloved brother and his new, charismatic girlfriend. The three become embroiled in shady dealings in their town after an oil spill grounds the local fishing industry and a dead body is found washed up on the shore.

Liang began his career as an actor, and has appeared in Lou Ye’s controversial “Spring Fever,” which premiered at Cannes in 2009, and “Shadow Days.” “Wisdom Tooth” was backed by Shanghai Tao Piaopiao Movie & TV Culture Company, Youku Pictures and Beijing Comprehensive Films. 

The film was produced by Sean Chen, producer of Vivian Qu’s 2017 Venice competition title “Angels Wear White,” and “Trap Street.”

Paris-based ASC Distribution was founded in 1997 and has a special focus on the first films of international directors.