Abner Benaim’s “Plaza Catedral” Makes Oscars Short List in International Feature Film Category

Abner Benaim is celebrating a special first for Panama…

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has unveiled its shortlist of 15 films that will advance to the next stage of voting in the International Feature Film category at the Academy Awards, with the 50-year-old Panamanian filmmaker’s latest film making the cut.

Abner BenaimBenaim’s thriller Plaza Catedral becomes the country’s first film to make the short list.

Starring Ilse Salas, Xavier de Casta and Manuel Cardona, explores the relationship between a melancholy divorcee and a poor street child.

As a co-production between Panama, Mexico and Colombia, it’s Benaim’s second fiction feature film after his 2009 comedy Chance.

But Benaim’s Plaza Catedral isn’t the only Latin film making the short list…

Mexico’s Prayers For The Stolen, directed by Tatiana Huezo, and Spain’s The Good Boss, directed by Fernando León de Aranoa and starring Javier Bardem, have also made the cut.

Academy members from all branches were invited to participate in the preliminary round of voting and must have met a minimum viewing requirement to be eligible to vote in the category.

In the nominations round, Academy members from all branches are invited to opt in to participate and must view all 15 shortlisted films to vote.

Nominations voting begins on January 27, 2022, and concludes on February 1, 2022. They will be announced on February 8, 2022 with the ceremony held on March 27.

Here’s the shortlist in full:

Austria: Great Freedom
Belgium: Playground
Bhutan: Lunana: A Yak in the Classroom
Finland: Compartment No. 6
Denmark: Flee
Germany: I’m Your Man
Iceland: Lamb
Iran: A Hero
Italy: The Hand of God
Japan: Drive My Car
Kosovo: Hive
Mexico: Prayers For The Stolen
Norway: The Worst Person In The World
Panama: Plaza Catedral
Spain: The Good Boss

Mexico Enters Tatiana Huezo’s “Prayers For The Stolen” into International Feature Film Oscars Race

Tatiana Huezo is praying for Oscar glory…

Mexico has entered the 49-year-old Salvadoran and Mexican filmmaker’s Prayers For The Stolen as its submission to this year’s International Feature Film Academy Awards race.

Tatiana Huezo

The film debuted at the Cannes Film Festival this year, receiving a special mention in the Un Certain Regard program. The film was also a multi-award-winner at the San Sebastian and Athens film festivals. Netflix picked up rights and will release in select theaters and online in November.

Vaguely based on Jennifer Clement’s 2014 novel, the film is set in a solitary town nestled in the Mexican mountains, where the girls wear boyish haircuts and have hiding places underground. Ana and her two best friends take over the houses of those who have fled and dress up as women when no one is watching. In their own impenetrable universe, magic and joy abound; meanwhile, their mothers train them to flee from those who turn them into slaves or ghosts. But one day, one of the girls doesn’t make it to her hideout in time.

Ana Cristina Ordóñez González, Marya Membreño, Mayra Batalla, Norma Pablo, Eileen Yáñez, and Memo Villegas star.

Huezo wrote the screenplay. Producers are Nicolás Celis (Roma) and Jim Stark (Mystery Train).

Jayro Bustamante’s “La Llorona” Makes Oscars Short List in International Feature Film Category

Jayro Bustamante is one step closer to having a date with Oscar…

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) has revealed its shortlist of International Feature Film potential nominees, with the Guatemalan film director and screenwriter’s supernatural horror drama La Llorona making the grade.

Jayro Bustamante

Bustamante’s third feature film, representing his native Guatemala in the race, is rooted in the more recent history of Guatemala’s ruthless military leaders and their efforts in erasing indigenous tribes.

La Llorona recently made history as the first Central American film to earn a Golden Globe nomination.

But Bustamante isn’t the only Latinx director to have a project make the shortlist…

Maite Alberdi’s The Mole Agent, representing Chile, is among the 15 shortlisted films…

The 37-year-old Chilean writer/director’s documentary centers on a private investigator in Chile hires someone to work as a mole at a retirement home where a client of his suspects the caretakers of elder abuse.

Fernando Frías de la Parra’s I’m No Longer Here, representing Mexico, still has an Oscar shot as well…

Written and directed by the 42-year-old Mexican filmmaker, the film has been called “a thoughtful portrait of cultural identity.” It centers on a teen from Monterrey, Mexico who forges a new life in Queens, New York.

The full Oscar nominations will be announced on March 15, and ABC will air the 93rd annual Academy Awards live on April 25.

Here are the shortlisted films:

INTERNATIONAL FEATURE FILM
Bosnia and Herzegovina, Quo Vadis, Aida?
Chile, The Mole Agent
Czech Republic, Charlatan
Denmark, Another Round
France, Two of Us
Guatemala, La Llorona
Hong Kong, Better Days
Iran, Sun Children
Ivory Coast, Night of the Kings
Mexico, I’m No Longer Here
Norway, Hope
Romania, Collective
Russia, Dear Comrades!
Taiwan, A Sun
Tunisia, The Man Who Sold His Skin

La Llorona

The Mole Agent

I’m No Longer Here


 

Venezuela Enters Patricia Ortega’s “Being Impossible” Into International Feature Film Oscars Race

Patricia Ortega has joined the Oscar race…

Venezuela’s National Film Auteurs Association (ANAC) has chosen the 42-year-old Venezuelan film director’s Being Impossible as the country’s submission in the international feature film Academy Awards category.

Patricia Ortega

Ortega’s second feature, following 2013’s El regreso, is the story of Ariel, a young seamstress who discovers she was submitted to several surgeries to correct her intersexual body as a baby, a revelation will confront her with the challenge of being an accepted woman or daring to be a free intersexual person.

A co-production between Venezuela’s Mandragora Films and Colombia’s Antorcha FilmsBeing Impossible premiered at Spain’s Valladolid Film Week (Seminci) and also played at SXSW and the Boston LGTB Film Festival, among others.

Venezuela first submitted an Oscar bid in 1978, but has yet to earn a nomination.

The 92nd Academy Awards are set to take place on February 9, 2020.

Colombia Selects Alejandro Landes’ “Monos” as Its Pick for the Oscar’s International Feature Film Race

Alejandro Landes is representing Colombia…

The 39-year-old Brazil-born Colombian-Ecuadorian film director’s latest project, the Spanish-language survival thriller Monos, has been selected as Colombia’s selection for the International Feature Film race at the 92nd Academy Awards.

Alejandro Landes

The film centers on a young group of soldiers and rebels training on a remote mountain in Latin America with an American hostage (Julianne Nicholson).

Moisés AriasSofia BuenaventuraDeiby RuedaKaren Quintero and Laura Castrillón star in the film, which Landes co-wrote with Alexis Dos Santos.

Monos

The film won a World Cinema Dramatic Special Jury Awardat this year’s Sundance Film Festivalin Park City, Utah. 

The news comes as Neon and co-distributor Participant Media prepare to release the film theatrically in the U.S. on September 13.

Colombia has only seen one film nominated in what was formerly known as the Best Foreign Language Film category. That was Ciro Guerra’s Embrace of the Serpent in 2015, the year Hungary’s Son of Saulwon the Oscar.