HBO Films has released the Icebox trailer, which previews the drama premiering on Friday, December 7 on HBO. Writer/director Daniel Sawka’s feature debut is produced by Oscar and Emmy winner James L. Brooks’ Gracie Films and co-financed with Endeavor Content.
Icebox tells the story of Óscar, played by Anthony Gonzalez (Coco), a 12-year-old Honduran boy who is forced to flee his home and seek asylum in the United States, only to find himself trapped in the U.S. immigration system.
Brooks and his production company, Gracie Films, partnered with Sawka to expand the project from a master’s thesis short into a feature-length film. Icebox premiered in the Discovery section at this year’s Toronto International Film Festival. Endeavor Content co-financed the production and handled the worldwide sale.
The film also stars Omar Leyva, Johnny Ortiz, Matthew Moreno, Jessica Juarez and Genesis Rodriguez.
As Óscar attempts to reach his uncle, Manuel (Leyva), in Arizona, he is apprehended by Border Patrol and placed in “the icebox,” a detention facility where he joins scores of other migrant children being held without their families. Faced with a seemingly impenetrable immigration system, Óscar struggles to navigate a path to freedom, with a journalist (Rodriguez) and his uncle, himself a recent immigrant, as his only lifelines.
Filmed on location in New Mexico, the film was shot primarily in Spanish with English subtitles. Sawka originally wrote and directed Icebox as a short film for his 2016 American Film Institute MFA thesis project. This short was subsequently shortlisted for the 2018 Academy Awards, won the Grand Jury Award at AFI fest, and screened at Telluride Film Festival.