HBO Films has acquired the worldwide rights to director-writer Daniel Sawka’s timely drama feature Icebox, which premiered at this year’s Toronto Film Festival.

Produced by Oscar- and Emmy-winning James L. Brooks’ Gracie Films and co-financed with Endeavor Content, Icebox will debut Friday, December 7 on HBO.

Filmed on location in New Mexico, the film was shot primarily in Spanish with English subtitles. It 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.

“I have seldom seen a movie so of the moment – it’s almost reportage,” said Len Amato, president, HBO Films. “Icebox gives viewers not only an opportunity to witness what it’s like inside these migrant detention centers, but also to feel the emotions of the children, revealing a world that many journalists and citizens have not yet been able to sufficiently penetrate.”

Brooks and his 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. Sawka’s short was shortlisted for the 2018 Academy Awards, won the Grand Jury Award at AFI fest, and screened at Telluride Film Festival.

The film also stars Omar Leyva, Johnny Ortiz, Matthew Moreno, Jessica Juarez and Genesis Rodriguez.

James L. Brooks, Richard Sakai, Julie Ansell, David Greathouse produce.