Simshar vies for Oscar foreign language film nominations

Malta joines first-timers Kosovo, Mauritania and Panama in Oscar short-list for nominations for foreign-language film prize.

Dreaming of Oscar glory: director Rebecca Cremona's Simshar is the first Maltese movie to be submitted for consideration to be nominated for an Oscar
Dreaming of Oscar glory: director Rebecca Cremona's Simshar is the first Maltese movie to be submitted for consideration to be nominated for an Oscar

'Simshar', the movie on the ill-fated fishing trip by Marsaxlokk fisherman Simon Bugeja, is the first Maltese film ever to be considered for the foreign-language film category for the 87th Academy Awards.

The entries include four first-timers: Kosovo, Malta, Mauritania and Panama.

Rebecca Cremona's film is about the Marsaxlokk fishing trip that ended in disaster and only one survivor, Simon Bugeja, who survived on board a makeshift raft made of blocks of polystyren for eight days. His son Theo died of exposure and dehydration at sea, along with Bugeja's father Karmenu, 61, and fishermen Noel Carabott, 33 - who died in the explosion of the boat Simshar - and Somali national Abdulrahman Abdala Gedi, 21.

Oscar contest

Also new to the race: the name of the director will be engraved onto the Oscar statuette, in addition to the name of the country, Variety Magazine announced.

The five nominees will be announced on 15 January, along with contenders in all the other categories. But a week before then, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences will release a shortlist of nine foreign-language semi-finalists.

Each country can submit one film, determining on its own how this choice will be made. Any film that opens commercially in the U.S. in calendar 2014 will be eligible in other categories as well. The last foreign-lingo film to score a best picture nomination was the 2012 “Amour.” The category was created in 1956.

Submissions closed on 1 October. Since then, the foreign-language film award committee reviewed the submissions to make sure they qualify, in terms of national contributions.

The 2014 submissions are:

Afghanistan, “A Few Cubic Meters of Love,” Jamshid Mahmoudi, director;
Argentina, “Wild Tales” (in photo above), Damián Szifrón, director;
Australia, “Charlie’s Country,” Rolf de Heer, director;
Austria, “The Dark Valley,” Andreas Prochaska, director;
Azerbaijan, “Nabat,” Elchin Musaoglu, director;
Bangladesh, “Glow of the Firefly,” Khalid Mahmood Mithu, director;
Belgium, “Two Days, One Night,” Jean-Pierre Dardenne and Luc Dardenne, directors;
Bolivia, “Forgotten,” Carlos Bolado, director;
Bosnia and Herzegovina, “With Mom,” Faruk Lončarevič, director;
Brazil, “The Way He Looks,” Daniel Ribeiro, director;
Bulgaria, “Bulgarian Rhapsody,” Ivan Nitchev, director;
Canada, “Mommy,” Xavier Dolan, director;
Chile, “To Kill a Man,” Alejandro Fernández Almendras, director;
China, “The Nightingale,” Philippe Muyl, director;
Colombia, “Mateo,” María Gamboa, director;
Costa Rica, “Red Princesses,” Laura Astorga Carrera, director;
Croatia, “Cowboys,” Tomislav Mršić, director;
Cuba, “Conducta,” Ernesto Daranas Serrano, director;
Czech Republic, “Fair Play,” Andrea Sedláčková, director;
Denmark, “Sorrow and Joy,” Nils Malmros, director;
Dominican Republic, “Cristo Rey,” Leticia Tonos, director;
Ecuador, “Silence in Dreamland,” Tito Molina, director;
Egypt, “Factory Girl,” Mohamed Khan, director;
Estonia, “Tangerines,” Zaza Urushadze, director;
Ethiopia, “Difret,” Zeresenay Berhane Mehari, director;
Finland, “Concrete Night,” Pirjo Honkasalo, director;
France, “Saint Laurent,” Bertrand Bonello, director;
Georgia, “Corn Island,” George Ovashvili, director;
Germany, “Beloved Sisters,” Dominik Graf, director;
Greece, “Little England,” Pantelis Voulgaris, director;
Hong Kong, “The Golden Era,” Ann Hui, director;
Hungary, “White God,” Kornél Mundruczó, director;
Iceland, “Life in a Fishbowl,” Baldvin Zophoníasson, director;
India, “Liar’s Dice,” Geetu Mohandas, director;
Indonesia, “Soekarno,” Hanung Bramantyo, director;
Iran, “Today,” Reza Mirkarimi, director;
Iraq, “Mardan,” Batin Ghobadi, director;
Ireland, “The Gift,” Tom Collins, director;
Israel, “Gett, the Trial of Viviane Amsalem,” Ronit Elkabetz and Shlomi Elkabetz, directors;
Italy, “Human Capital,” Paolo Virzì, director;
Japan, “The Light Shines Only There,” Mipo O, director;
Kosovo, “Three Windows and a Hanging,” Isa Qosja, director;
Kyrgyzstan, “Kurmanjan Datka Queen of the Mountains,” Sadyk Sher-Niyaz, director;
Latvia, “Rocks in My Pockets,” Signe Baumane, director;
Lebanon, “Ghadi,” Amin Dora, director;
Lithuania, “The Gambler,” Ignas Jonynas, director;
Luxembourg, “Never Die Young,” Pol Cruchten, director;
Macedonia, “To the Hilt,” Stole Popov, director;
Malta, “Simshar,” Rebecca Cremona, director;
Mauritania, “Timbuktu,” Abderrahmane Sissako, director;
Mexico, “Cantinflas,” Sebastián del Amo, director;
Moldova, “The Unsaved,” Igor Cobileanski, director;
Montenegro, “The Kids from the Marx and Engels Street,” Nikola Vukčević, director;
Morocco, “The Red Moon,” Hassan Benjelloun, director;
Nepal, “Jhola,” Yadav Kumar Bhattarai, director;
Netherlands, “Accused,” Paula van der Oest, director;
New Zealand, “The Dead Lands,” Toa Fraser, director;
Norway, “1001 Grams,” Bent Hamer, director;
Pakistan, “Dukhtar,” Afia Nathaniel, director;
Palestine, “Eyes of a Thief,” Najwa Najjar, director;
Panama, “Invasion,” Abner Benaim, director;
Peru, “The Gospel of the Flesh,” Eduardo Mendoza, director;
Philippines, “Norte, the End of History,” Lav Diaz, director;
Poland, “Ida,” Paweł Pawlikowski, director;
Portugal, “What Now? Remind Me,” Joaquim Pinto, director;
Romania, “The Japanese Dog,” Tudor Cristian Jurgiu, director;
Russia, “Leviathan,” Andrey Zvyagintsev, director;
Serbia, “See You in Montevideo,” Dragan Bjelogrlić, director;
Singapore, “Sayang Disayang,” Sanif Olek, director;
Slovakia, “A Step into the Dark,” Miloslav Luther, director;
Slovenia, “Seduce Me,” Marko Šantić, director;
South Africa, “Elelwani,” Ntshavheni Wa Luruli, director;
South Korea, “Haemoo,” Shim Sung-bo, director;
Spain, “Living Is Easy with Eyes Closed,” David Trueba, director;
Sweden, “Force Majeure,” Ruben Östlund, director;
Switzerland, “The Circle,” Stefan Haupt, director;
Taiwan, “Ice Poison,” Midi Z, director;
Thailand, “The Teacher’s Diary,” Nithiwat Tharathorn, director;
Turkey, “Winter Sleep,” Nuri Bilge Ceylan, director;
Ukraine, “The Guide,” Oles Sanin, director;
United Kingdom, “Little Happiness,” Nihat Seven, director;
Uruguay, “Mr. Kaplan,” Álvaro Brechner, director;
Venezuela, “The Liberator,” Alberto Arvelo, director.

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