Everything you wanted to know about the foreign language film race ...but were afraid to ask*
Pt 3. Filmmaking is a tough business. While the size and scope of opportunities within filmmaking industries varies tremendously across the borders, it's tough everywhere as creative careers inevitably are. So imagine then that you've finally managed to make a feature film after probably years of study and practice on shorts or frustrating fundraising efforts. Then pretend that the first time behind the camera in the narrative feature level results in your home country choosing you to represent them at the Oscars! That's incredible.
So a hearty congratulations to the 23 following first timers whose films have been selected to compete in Oscar's Best Foreign Language Film Race...
Only five films will be nominated but until then these filmmakers can dream of renting tuxes or finding the perfect gown to wear on Hollywood's High Holy Night...
Under the Shadow for the UK
Originally from Iran his debut feature (a horror film set in Tehran and already compared to The Babadook) is representing the UK this year. He's based in London.
21 more filmmakers after the jump...
Home Sweet Home for Kosovo
This post war dramedy about a man thought dead who returns home is a debut feature.
My Life as a Zucchini for Switzerland
He produced and directed animated shorts before making his first animated feature (reviewed) about orphaned children in a home.
Min Bahadur Bham
The Black Hen for Nepal
Before directing his first feature about childhood friends during a cease fire in a war-torn village and their hen which goes missing, this 31 year-old filmmaker from Nepal produced a few shorts.
Mir-Jean Bou Chaaya
Very Big Shot for Lebanon
This 27 year old Beirut born director started in music videos and short films and a TV docu series about Arab immigrants in Argentina. His debut feature is about a drug dealer and a filmmaker. The film is currently available on Amazon (to purchase only).
He's been producing films for 12 years. The Well , about an Algerian village surrouned by the French army, is his directorial debut.
They've worked on two documentary series together previously but this is their first narrative feature.
House of Others for Georgia
This 44 year old Georgian director's debut feature is about two families after a civil war struggling to build a new peaceful life. It has won prizes at both the Eurasian and the Karlovy film festivals. She previously worked in advertising and commercials.
Wasn't able to find much information on this filmmaker but I believe he's based in Canada.
The Black Pin for Montenegro
His debut feature is a comedy about a man at odds with his community when he opposes the sale of a large country estate. You can follow Ivan on Twitter if you so desire.
3000 Nights for Jordan
Masri spent her first 20 + years in the industry making documentaries. 3000 Nights is her first narrative feature. She's been nominated for Best Documentary Feature twice at the Asia Pacific Screen Awards
Juan Daniel F Molero
Videophilia (and other Viral Syndromes) for Peru
This 29 year old filmmaker who studied in Buenos Aires previously made one experimental documentary feature about his own temporary amnesia and his family's home movies. His debut narrative feature is about a rebellious teenager and the amateur porn dealer she meets online
The Ardennes for Belgium
This new Flemish director's first feature is about two thieving brothers, one fresh out of prison. Hollywood has already noticed him. He's signed with WME and Anonymous Content.
Her debut film is about a a husband and wife who don't see eye to eye about their autistic son.
Barakah Meets Barakah for Saudi Arabia
Here's an interesting interview with this man about his romantic comedy and the lack of anything like a national "Saudi cinema"
Eva Nova for Slovakia
He previously worked in documentaries and television before making this character drama about an alcoholic actress.
Only Dastan is pictured above. Couldn't find a picture of Bakyt though he apparently co-stars in the picture? The film is about a son who travels from the US to his father's village in Kyrgyzstan after his death.
From Afar for Venezuela
Before making the Venice winning gay drama Desde Alla (From Afar), reviewed here and available for streaming on Netflix, this 49 year old Venezuela filmmaker who studied in New York, made one short film as well as working on multiple documentary and shorts projects. He is the first Venezuelan filmmaker ever to be in competition at Venice and he won!
Zexer previously made both documentary and narrative shorts before making Sand Storm (reviewed at TIFF). Her debut feature, currently playing in limited release, won six Israel's Ophir Awards including Best Picture.
Two Not Pictured
The controversial Thai horror film Karma about a man forced to become a monk (sometimes referred to as Arpat or Arbat) by Kanittha Kwanyu is also reportedly a debut picture but we have yet to find any information on Kanittha. Man? Woman? Age? History?
Ian White, who directed Cambodia's entry Before the Fall is also a first time narrative feature director (according to IMDb credits) but it's such a common name that there are more than 30 Ian Whites on IMDb alone. So we don't have a photo yet.