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Trinity Cine Asia has acquired upcoming Hong Kong comedy “Chilli Laugh Story” for distribution in the U.K. and North America.

The work-from-home story of the director Coba Cheng’s relatives sees a locked-down family starting an online business during the pandemic. It stars Sandra Ng, who also produces, Ronald Cheng, Gigi Leung and Edan Lui, a member of the wildly popular Hong Kong boy band Mirror.

The film earned nearly $150,000 in previews at the Hong Kong box office last weekend and goes on full release from July 14, 2022. It will open theatrically in the U.K., where there is a growing expatriate Hong Kong population, the following day. A release in U.S. and Canadian theaters will follow on July 22.

The film was produced by Treasure Island Production with rights sales handled by Peter Chan’s We Distribution. It was originally set to release at Chinese New Year in February, but Hong Kong’s cinemas were closed between January and April due to the fifth and by far the city’s most serious COVID infection wave.

“While the epidemic brought devastation to theatres all over the world, it is rewarding to see the audience’s appetite for a wider array of films on the big screen again. Although we haven’t yet fully emerged from the disaster, the post epidemic re-opening has presented fresh opportunities in the cinema realm for us,” said Trinity Cine Asia director Cedric Behrel. “While we have released documentaries in the U.S. before, we have never had a [fiction film] release on that quick turnaround model, opening multiple cities on the same date across North America as well as the U.K. We are very thankful to exhibitors for giving us the opportunity to do this.”

Work-from-home was a particularly stressful experience for Hong Kongers, who generally live in apartments that are far smaller than European or American equivalents, and lifestyles are built on activities, such as dining and entertainment, outside the home

The film tells the story of a man who learns that his mother’s homemade chili sauce is a hit with his co-workers. He convinces his family to turn the spicy condiment into an online business. The family’s daily tugs-of-war soon become hotter than the sauce as long-hidden conflicts bubble to the surface.