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Riceboy Sleeps film image, director Anthony Shim

Riceboy Sleeps

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Raising her young son Dong-hyun (Dohyun Noel Hwang) in Vancouver’s suburbs in the 90s, So-young (Choi Seung-yoon), a South Korean immigrant and single mom, desperately wants to instill a sense of pride in the boy. In turn, he only wants to be considered “Canadian” in hopes of avoiding bullying at school. As Dong-hyun (now played by Ethan Hwang) grows older, his frustrations over knowing nothing about his father are only exasperated when So-young introduces a surrogate patriarch into his life. A cruel twist of fate sends the pair back to South Korea, where all will be revealed about the family’s history.

Elegantly interweaving social realism with fable-like sequences, Anthony Shim (Daughter, VIFF 2019) makes sublime use of Christopher Lew’s glorious cinematography and Andrew Yong Hoon Lee’s expressive score to craft a film that’s both emotionally and sensorially rich. Wedding autobiographical elements with more universal concerns, he likewise achieves an exquisite balance between Dong-hyun and So-young’s perspectives. The generosity extended to his characters makes the ensuing drama all the more rewarding.

Platform Award, TIFF 2022


 Q&A Sept 30 & Oct 3


Presented by

Media Partner

Global BC Logo 


Choi Seung-yoon, Ethan Hwang, Dohyun Noel Hwang, Anthony Shim, Hunter Dillon, Jerina Son

Country of Origin





In English and Korean with English subtitles

Film Contact
Content Warning

Racial Discrimination


At Vancouver Playhouse


At The Rio

117 min
Award Winners Drama

Book Tickets

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Anthony Shim headshot, Riceboy Sleeps director

Anthony Shim

Anthony Shim immigrated to Vancouver from Seoul with his family in the early 1990s. He began his career as an actor and served as the co-founder and artistic director of Blind Pig Theatre. In 2019, Shim made his first feature film Daughter, which had its world premiere at the Vancouver International Film Festival.

Filmography: Daughter (2019)