Since 1956, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has invited the film industries of various countries to submit their best film for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film. The Foreign Language Film Award Committee oversees the process and reviews all submitted films. Following this, they vote via secret ballot to determine the five nominees for the award.
For the month of February, Filmatique will screen four Foreign Language Film Oscar Submissions from countries historically underrepresented at the Academy Awards. In some cases, the submitting country has never been nominated. In others, it is one of the first times a country has submitted a film for the Award.
Sivas, Kaan Müjdeci / Turkey, 2014
Sivas is Turkish filmmaker Kaan Müjdeci's debut feature film. Sivas premiered at Abu Dhabi, Hong Kong, IndieLisboa, Jerusalem and Stockholm; in Competition at Venice, where it won the Special Jury Prize; and at Dhaka, where it won the FIPRESCI Prize.
Sivas was selected as Turkey's official submission to the 88th Academy Awards. Twenty-three films have been submitted by Turkey for the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar since 1964— Nuri Bilge Ceylan's Three Monkeys was the first to make the January shortlist, in 2009. No Turkish film has ever been nominated.
Sand Dollars, Laura Amelia Guzmán & Israel Cárdenas / Dominican Republic, 2014
Sand Dollars is co-directed Dominican filmmakers Laura Amelia Guzmán and Israel Cárdenas, their third and fourth features, respectively. Sand Dollars premiered at Toronto, Fribourg, Guadalajara, Havana, Palm Springs and Cairo, where it won the FIPRESCI Prize.
Sand Dollars was submitted by the Dominican Republic for the 88th Academy Awards. The Dominican Republic has submitted a total of nine films since their first submission in 1983. None have yet been nominated.
Corn Island, George Ovashvili / Georgia, 2014
Corn Island is the third feature film from Georgian filmmaker George Ovashvili. It premiered at Abu Dhabi, Athens, Chicago, Fribourg, Minsk, Montpellier, Palm Springs, San Sebastián, Seattle and Karlovy Vary, where it won Best Film and the Prize of the Ecumenical Jury.
Corn Island was selected as the Georgian entry to the 87th Academy Awards, making the January Shortlist. Georgia has submitted fifteen films for Oscar consideration in the Best Foreign Language Film category since gaining its independence from the USSR in 1991. They received an Oscar nomination for their first-ever submission in 1996, but none since.
Lamb, Yared Zeleke / Ethiopia (2015)
Lamb, a first feature from Ethiopian filmmaker Yared Zeleke, premiered at Adelaide, Amiens, Denver, London, Toronto and Cannes' Un Certain Regard— the first Ethiopian film to screen in the Official Selection of Cannes.
Ethiopia first submitted a film for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film in 2010. Most recently, Lamb was submitted for the 88th Academy Awards: their third entry. No Ethiopian film has ever been nominated for the prize.