Cannes: Luxbox Picks Up Singapore's Un Certain Regard Contender 'Apprentice'

Version Originale Condor has already acquired French distribution rights to Boo Junfeng's second feature, which tells the story of a Singaporean executioner.

International sales agent Luxbox has pounced on Singaporean director Boo Junfeng's second feature, Apprentice, in the wake of the film's inclusion in the Cannes Film Festival's Un Certain Regard lineup on Thursday.

Version Originale Condor has already nabbed French distribution rights to the film. It plans to release Apprentice in France on June 1. Other sales so far include Turkey (Bir Films), Mexico (ND Mantarraya), Singapore (Clover Films) and Hong Kong and China (Bravos Pictures).

A Singapore/Germany/France/Hong Kong/Qatar co-production shot in Singapore and Australia, Apprentice tells the story of Aiman (played by newcomer Fir Rahman), a 28-year-old correctional officer who is transferred to a top security prison. Inside, he strikes up a friendship with 65-year-old Rahim (Wan Hanafi Su), who is soon revealed to be the chief executioner of the prison. When Rahim’s assistant suddenly quits, he asks Aiman to work under him ... and perhaps to take over as his successor.

The film was produced by Peanut Pictures’ Raymond Phathanavirangoon, Akanga Film Asia’s Fran Borgia and Zhao Wei Films' Tan Fong Cheng. Executive producers include Singapore’s Eric Khoo, Hong Kong's Pang Ho-cheung and Subi Liang, along with Jim Rogers and Paige Parker.

“The film has been a labor of love over the past five years, and I look forward to be back at Cannes with these dedicated and committed partners,” Boo said in a statement. His feature-length directorial debut, Sandcastle, premiered at Cannes' International Critics’ Week in 2010.

"When I first discovered Apprentice, I was immediately taken by its strong subject matter and its very fresh perspective," said Eric Le Bot, head of Version Originale Condor. "I have rarely seen a project that plays so well with reality. We're proud to come on board the film as its French distributor.”