Óscar (Anthony Gonzalez), a 12-year-old Honduran boy, is forced to flee his home and seek asylum in the United States, only to find himself trapped in the U.S. immigration system. As Oscar attempts to reach his uncle, Manuel (Omar Leyva), in Arizona, he is apprehended by Border Patrol and placed in “the icebox,” a processing center for Hispanic migrant children. Faced against a seemingly impenetrable immigration system, Oscar struggles to navigate a path to freedom, with a journalist (Genesis Rodriguez) and his uncle, himself a recent immigrant, as his only lifeline. The film also stars Johnny Ortiz, Matthew Moreno and Jessica Juarez.
“The narrative and characters in Icebox are inspired by so many personal stories that were told to me through years of research and outreach — stories that unfortunately have become all too prevalent in today’s world,” said Daniel Sawka.
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.
Icebox premieres December 7 on HBO.