Cannes: Well Go Picks Up Hong Kong's 'Better Days,' South Korea's 'House of Hummingbird' (Exclusive)

Epiphany Films
'House of Hummingbird'

The North American distributor plans to release the two edgy, Asian youth dramas sometime later this year.

Well Go USA has nabbed North American theatrical rights to a pair of edgy youth titles from Asia, the critically acclaimed South Korean coming-of-age film House of Hummingbird and gritty Hong Kong-China drama Better Days.

The feature-directing debut of female Korean filmmaker Kim Bo-ra, House of Hummingbird debuted in competition last year in the Busan International Film Festival's New Currents section, where it won the NETPAC Award and the KNN Audience Award. It later screened in both Tribeca and Berlin, winning the latter event's Generation 14plus international jury prize for best film.

The movie takes a gentle but unblinking look at the daily struggles of a neglected 14-year-old girl (Park Jihu) in 1990s Seoul. THR's critic summed the film up as "a warm, complex and hopeful slice of teen life."

Better Days, meanwhile, made waves at the Berlin International Film Festival in February — but only for unfortunate reasons. The film was set to premiere in the festival's Generation 14Plus section, but it withdrew from the event at the last minute. The producers said the film wasn't finished in time for it to compete, but other sources suggested difficulties getting censorship clearance from Beijing regulators.

Better Days revolves around a bullied school girl and her relationship with a tough street kid — with whom she is soon implicated in the murder of another teenage girl. The film stars Zhou Dongyu and Jackson Yee, a member of the hugely popular Chinese boy band TFboys. It is directed by young Hong Kong actor-director Derek Tsang, son of local screen legend Eric Tsang. The junior Tsang previously directed the award-winning drama Soul Mate and co-directed Lovers Discourse and Lacuna, with Jimmy Wan.

An official Hong Kong-China co-production, the film is backed by Goodfellas Pictures and Fat Kids Production.

Well Go USA, which is in Cannes this week pursuing additional acquisitions, plans to release both films in North America later this year. Well Go's biggest pickup of the 2018 Cannes Film Festival was South Korean drama Burning, which premiered in competition and won the Critics' Prize.