Ibero-American submissions for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film 2017

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[UPDATED: Argentina submission]

Although Oscar Awards are being given by The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences since 1929, it was not until 1956 when the first Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film was added as category. At the beginning, foreign films were not separated, but during the end of 40’s and mid-50s the Academy invented a Special/Honorary Awards to non-English speaking films that later transformed in the category we know now. “La Strada” by Federico Fellini opened this category in 1956.

Ibero-American films have been nominated 38 times and have won the Oscar Award five times with: To Begin Again (Spain 1982), Belle Époque (Spain 1993), All About My Mother (Spain 1999), The Sea Inside (Spain 2004) and The Secret in Their Eyes (Argentina 2009),  this last film had an US remake starring Nicole Kidman, Julia Roberts and Chiwetel Ejiofor directed by Billy Ray last year.

89th Academy Awards will take place on February 26, 2017 and Nominees will be announced on February 6, 2017, so the different Ibero-American Film Academy Organizations have already chosen their submissions to the 89th Academy Awards for Best Foreign Language Film.

It is missing four days to deadline for submissions is over, and the films selected must have been released theatrically in each country between 1 October 2015 and 30 September 2016.

Here the list of Ibero-American submissions to Oscar Awards 2017.

Alias María (Colombia)

Regarding the peace process in Colombia, Alias María, directed by Jose Luis Rugeles, is in the line of this historic event. This is the story of a young guerilla girl who becomes pregnant when this status is strictly prohibited. While she makes everything to hide her pregnancy, she is entrusted to bring Commander’s newborn into a safe zone.

It is a film between drama and thriller that talks about war but the one that is battled for women and minors recruited in the midst of an armed organisation.

  • Awards: Best Film at Haifa Film Fest (Israel). Best Film at Guadeloupe Film Fest (France). Ecumenical Jury Award at Fribourgh IFF (France).

Desert/Desierto (México)

Many times the success of a movie is determined for external causes like the moment in which it is premiered or according to political and economic climate. This is the case of Desert directed by Alfonso Cuaron’s son, Jonás, that despite having been written 10 years ago its story is more live than ever.

Desert is the story of a group of immigrants who confront all the dangers trying to cross the border and getting away from an American racist who wants to kill them. Feature film starring Gael García Bernal.

  • Awards: FIPRESCI Prize for Special Presentations at Toronto Film Fest.

Flor de Azúcar (Domenican Republic)

Dominican Film Commission selected Flor de Azúcar that is inspired on short story “La noche buena de Encarnación Mendoza” by Juan Bosch. The movie is settled in 1948 during the dictatorship Rafael L. Trujillo when two peasant couples, one Dominican and the other from Haiti, are connected for the solidarity and injustice of an oppresive regime. One of them, Samuel, kills, unintentionally, one of guards, situation that forces him to leave his wife and son behind. He hides in a remote island for a year where he meets a woman and her daughter, but he decides to recuperate his family without suspecting the terrible things that are awaiting for him.

  • Awards: No Yet.

From Afar/Desde allá (Venezuela)

From Afar is the debut feature film of director Lorenzo Vigas who has just received four nominations for Fénix Awards (Best Film, Actor, Screenplay and Edition), one of the two main film awards for Iberoamerica. The film was also won the Golden Lion in the past edition of Venice Film Festival, becoming the first Latin-American film in receiving that award.

From Afar is a story of love and revenge of a man who has love affairs with other guys who he meets on streets and invites to his home. One of these guys is the leader of criminal group whose relationship will change their lives forever. The feature film will also represent Venezuela at Goya Awards.

  • Awards: Best Film at Venice Film Fest. Best Ibero-American Film at Panama Film Fest.

Julieta (Spain)

From eight times Iberoamerica has won an Oscar Award, one of them was for Pedro Almodovar with his film “All About My Mother” (1999). Julieta is his latest movie and was premiered in official competition in Cannes, a story inspired on “Runaway”, a collection of short stories by Canadian Alice Munro. Almodovar included the first three stories of the book: “Chance, “Soon” and “Silence”.

Julieta is the name of main character, a woman who lives with her daughter Antia. Both are suffering for the lost of husband and father Xoan. Once Antia is 18 years old, leaves her mother without any explanation. The more years go by the more Julieta discovers she didn’t know her son at all. The Spanish director has described as a “tragedy without any concession”.

Julieta is expected to be released next December in USA.

  • Awards: Not yet.

Little Secret/Pequeno Segredo (Brazil)

This Brazilian feature film is directed by David Schürmann, whose family made famous after becoming in the first Brazilian crew to go round the world in a sailboat.

Little Secret is inspired on real story of her adoptive sister who was HIV positive and died in 2006 when she was 13. The complete story was told in a best seller book published by this director and his mother in 2012.

  • Awards: Not yet.

Neruda (Chile)


International director Pablo Larrain has premiered two films this year: “Jackie” and Neruda where Chilean director works with Gael García Bernal again after his Oscar nominated film “No”.

More than a biopic, this movie talks about Neruda as a legend. It is settled in 1948, when Pablo Neruda is persecuted after having declared illegal the Communist Party. The poet must live clandestinely together to his wife Delia del Carril. It is in exile where he reinvents his literature and becomes in legend and a worldwide symbol of freedom.

Neruda is one of two more nominated films for Ibero-American Fénix Awards, where it has been nominated in nine categories. Next December 7th will be the ceremony in México.

  • Awards: Not yet.

Migas de pan (Uruguay)

Migas de pan (Lit. Breadcrumbs) is starring well-known Spanish actress whose character is an exiled photographer in Galicia that returns to her country after becoming a grandmother. So, the time has come to denounce all torture and ill-treatment that she and other women were subjected during the Uruguayan dictatorship.

  • Awards: Not yet.

Salsipuedes (Panamá)

Salsipuedes a popular idiom in Panama to denote the danger of a street in the downtown of the city, is the title of this movie which is co-directed by Ricardo Aguilar Navarro and Cuban Manolito Rodriguez. Both of them debut with this production.

The feature film is the story of Andres, who was sent to United States in order to avoid bad influences to his neighborhood. After 10 years, he returns for funeral of his grandfather. There, he finds his father is in jail but escapes, so Andres decides to look for him in Salsipuedes, where he reconnects with his past, his friends and himself.

  • Awards: Audience Award at Panama Film Fest.

The Distinguished Citizen/El ciudadano ilustre (Argentina)

The Distinguished Citizen has been selected to represent Argentina cinema as Oscar as Goya Awards. The film is directed by Gaston Duprat and Mariano Cohn.

It is the story of Argentine writer who won the Nobel Prize for literature 40 years ago and moved to Europe. There, this writer got his success writing about his hometown and its characters. In the peak of his career, Daniel Mantovani is invited to his city where has been declared Distinguished Citizen. He travels and his arrival sets off some special situations between public and him as a figure.

Mariano Cohn said Argentine media that it is a “universal story that talks about the returning of an idol to his hometown after 40 years and also talks about nationalism and the idea of an idol, which sometimes it is not what we think”.

  • Awards: Volpi for Best Actor at Venice Film Fest.

The Companion/El Acompañante (Cuba)

When AIDS appeared in Cuba for first time, communist government took immediate actions in order to protect the island and preventing the spread of the virus. Government forced to take blood samples to citizen older than 15 and capturing to sick population locking them up at Los Cocos Sanatorium.

The film tells the story of an ex-fighter who must to serve a sentence for doping being accompanying to Daniel, an AIDS patient at Los Cocos. They become friends and end helping each other.

  • Awards: Audience Award at Miami Film Fest.

Sealed Cargo/Carga Sellada (Bolivia)

Bolivian Filmmakers Association (Asocine) selected Sealed Cargo directed by Julia Vargas to represent the country. It is a road movie based on real story about the toxic waste moved from the great Powers to third-world countries.

According history, a train – best known as “train of death” -, took advantage of Government’s negligence in railway lines to fulfill the mission of discharging 400 tons of toxic waste from developed countries in some Andean landscapes. Sealed Cargo is a co-production with Bolivia, México, Venezuela and France. Julia Vargas is the Bolivian woman with more titles in her filmography (three total).

  • Awards: Best Cinematography at Ekurhuleni Film Fest (South Africa). Jury Prize at Indian Film Fest.

Videophilia (And Other Viral Syndromes) (Perú)

Videophilia is a love story between two young, Luz and Junior, who only talk via Internet. Film is directed Juan Daniel F. Molero. At Mar del Plata Film Festival, Videophilia was described as “anarchical and conspiracy experience”.

This movie has been the first Peruvian Tiger Award winner at Rotterdam Film Fest.

  • Awards: Best Film at Rotterdam Film Fest. Best Film at Lima Film Fest.

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