Spain Selects J.A. Bayona’s “Society of Snow” as Its Entry for the Oscars’ Best International Feature Film Race

J.A. Bayona is in the running for a potential Academy Award

Spain has selected the 48-year-old Spanish filmmaker’s latest film, Society of the Snow as its entry for the Best International Feature Film race at the 2024 Oscars.

J.A. BayonaThe announcement marks the first time a Netflix-backed film has been selected by Spain and the second time J.A. Bayona has made the cut following his 2007 film The Orphanage.

Society of the Snow closed this year’s Venice Film Festival. Based on the book of the same name by Pablo Vierci, first published in 2008, the film charts the story of the 45 people who, on October 13, 1972, boarded Uruguayan Air Force Flight 571 from Montevideo to Chile. There were five crew members on board and 40 passengers, including 19 members of the Old Christians Club rugby team. Tragedy struck when the pilot began his descent too early, crashing into the Andes and killing 12 immediately. The survivors clung to the belief that help was coming, but none did. After weeks of hunger, having exhausted everything in the plane’s hold, they were forced to do the unthinkable and eat the flesh of those who had died. The story was told by Frank Marshall in the 1993 film Alive.

J.A. Bayona, La Sociedad De La Nieve, Society of the SnowStarring in the Spanish-language film are Enzo Vogrincic, Matías Recalt, Agustín Pardella, Esteban Kukuriczka and Tomas Wolf.

The film is produced by Belén Atienza, Sandra Hermida and Bayona. The screenplay comes from Bayona, Bernat Vilaplana, Jaime Marques and Nicolás Casariego from the novel by Pablo Vierci. The director of photography is Pedro Luque.

Last year Spain selected Carla Simón’s Berlinale winner Alcarràs for the Best International Feature Film race. The film didn’t make the final shortlist.

Ava DuVernay’s Array Releasing Acquires Ivan Herrera’s Drama “Bantú Mama” Across Several Markets

Ivan Herrera’s latest project is going international… 

Ava DuVernay’s Array Releasing has acquired the 45-year-old Dominican filmmaker’s drama Bantú Mama for distribution in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand.

Ivan Herrera

The company will be presenting the film — which has been named as the Dominican Republic’s 2023 entry for the Best International Feature Film Oscar — on select screens and on Netflix beginning on November 17.

Bantú Mama follows a French woman of African descent who manages to escape after being arrested in the Dominican Republic. She finds shelter in the most dangerous district of Santo Domingo, where she is taken in by a group of children. By becoming their protégée and maternal figure, she then experiences an unimaginable change in her destiny.

Bantu Mama“We are honored to distribute the Dominican Republic’s official Oscar submission,” said Array President Tilane Jones. “This deeply moving and vividly drawn drama, beautifully directed by Ivan Herrera and co-written with producer Clarisse Albrecht, is a bold vision that we’re thrilled to share with audiences.”

The film had its world premiere at the 2021 SXSW Film Festival, before going on to screen at fests including BFI London Film Festival and Urbanworld.

Herrera, Albrecht, Franmiris Lombert & Nicolas LaMadrid produced the film, which has picked up awards from the Durban Film Festival, Latino and Iberian Film Festival at Yale, 47/Festival de Huelva, Festival de Cine Fine Arts, Nova Frontier Film Festival and Quibdó África Film Festival.

Mexico Enters Alejandro G. Iñárritu’s “Bardo” Into Academy Awards’ Best International Feature Film Race

Alejandro G. Iñárritu is back in the Oscar race…

Mexico has selected the 59-year-old Mexican five-time Academy Award winner’s Bardo as its official entry for the Best International Feature Film Oscar race.

Alejandro G. Iñárritu, BardoThe immersive work stars Daniel Giménez Cacho as a renowned Los Angeles-based Mexican journalist and documentary filmmaker who, after being named the recipient of a prestigious international award, is compelled to return to his native country, unaware that this simple trip will push him to an existential limit.

The film had its world premiere in its three-hour original version in competition at the Venice Film Festival in early September.

Netflix recently dropped a trailer for the film, which opens theatrically in Mexico on October 27, followed by a limited theatrical release in the U.S., Spain and Argentina on November 4 before rolling out in a global expansion on November 18.

The film will debut December 1 on Netflix.

The work reunites Iñárritu with a number of his longtime collaborators including co-writer Nicolás Giacobone, who also took credits on Birdman and Biutiful.

Bardo — whose full title is Bardo, False Chronicle of a Handful of Truths — marks Iñárritu’s first film to be shot in Mexico since Amores Perroswhich also represented Mexico at the Academy Awards and was nominated in 2000.

The film also features production design by the designer Eugenio Caballero, who previously won an Academy Award for his work on Guillermo del Toro’s Pan’s Labyrinth and Alfonso Cuaron’s Roma, and costume design by Anna Terrazas (The DeuceRoma).

Outside of the best international film category and its foreign language predecessor, Iñárritu previously won Oscars for Carne y Arena (2018), The Revenant (2016) and Birdman (2015) and was nominated for Babel (2007).

Mexico has garnered eight nominations to date with Roberto Gavaldón’s Macario (1960), Ismael Rodriguez’s The Important Man (1961), Luis Alcoriza’s The Pearl Of Tiayucan (1963), Miguel Litten’s Letters Of Marusia (1975), Iñárritu’s Amores Perros (2000), Carlos Carrera’s El Crimen del Padre Amaro (2002), Guillermo Del Toro’s Pan’s Labyrinth (2006) and Iñárritu’s Biutiful (2010).

Cuaron won the country its only Oscar in the category with Roma in 2018.

Tatiana Huezo’s “Prayers for the Stolen” Wins FIPRESCI Prize at the Palm Springs Film Festival

Tatiana Huezo’s prayers are being celebrated…

The 50-year-old Mexican Salvadoran filmmaker’s Prayers for the Stolen has won the FIPRESCI Prize for Best International Feature Film at the Palm Springs Film Festival, which revealed its juried winners this week despite being forced to cancel its 2022 edition.

Tatiana HuezoHuezo’s film, which has made this year’s Oscars short list for the Best International Feature Film category. was released by Netflix in theaters and on the streaming platform in November.

It centers on three young girls in a mountain town who take over the houses of those who have fled, dress up as women when no one is watching, and have a hiding place as their mothers train them to flee from those who turn them into slaves or ghosts. Until one day, when one of the girls doesn’t make it to her hideout in time.

The jury awarded it the top prize “for a miraculously vivid portrayal of girlhood under siege told with visual exuberance and powerful intimacy from the ensemble cast.”

The film also took the festival’s Ibero-American Award, the top prize in its Ibero-American sidebar devoted to the best films from Latin America, Spain or Portugal.

Special mentions in the Ibero-American sidebar were given to Anita Rocha da Silveira’s Medusa and Víctor Escribano’s 7 Lives, 7 Lakes.

The Palm Springs Film Festival, which had been scheduled to run January 6-17 before being scrapped amid the latest COVID surge, is considered a must-stop for International Feature Oscar contenders, with 36 of the 93 official submissions this year slated for the lineup.

Here’s the full list of winners:

FIPRESCI Prize: Best International Feature Film

Prayers For the Stolen (Mexico)
Directed by Tatiana Huezo

FIPRESCI Prize: Best Actor in an International Feature Film

Amir Jadidi
A Hero (Iran)

FIPRESCI Prize: Best Actress in an International Feature Film

Agathe Rousselle
Titane (France/Belgium)

FIPRESCI Prize: International Screenplay

A Hero (Iran)
Screenplay by Asghar Farhadi

Best Documentary Award

Flee (Denmark)
Directed by Jonas Poher Rasmussen

Special Mention
The Caviar Connection (France)
Directed by Benoît Bringer

New Voices/New Visions Award

Happening (France)
Directed by Audrey Diwan

Special Mention
Wildhood (Canada/Germany)
Directed by Bretten Hannam

Ibero-American Award

Prayers For the Stolen (Mexico)
Directed by Tatiana Huezo

Special Mentions
Medusa (Brazil/USA)
Directed by Anita Rocha da Silveira

7 Lives, 7 Lakes (Spain)
Directed by Víctor Escribano

Local Jury Award

Escape from Mogadishu (South Korea)
Directed by Ryoo Seung-wan.

Special Mention
Mission: Joy – Finding Happiness in Troubled Times (USA)
Directed by Louie Psihoyos, Peggy Callahan

MOZAIK Bridging the Borders Award

A Hero (Iran)
Director Asghar Farhadi

Special Mentions
Fear (Bulgaria)
Directed by Ivaylo Hristov

Who We Are: A Chronicle of Racism in America (USA)
Directed by Emily Kunstler and Sarah Kunstler

Young Cineastes Award

Yuni (Indonesia)
Directed by Kamila Andini

Special Mention
Any Day Now (Finland)
Directed by Hamy Ramezan 

Argentina Selects Natalia Meta’s “The Intruder” for Oscars’ International Feature Film Competition

Natalia Meta is hoping to send an Intruder to the Oscars

Argentina has selected the Argentinian director’s horror-thriller The Intruder (El Prófugo), as its entry in the Best International Feature Film category for the upcoming Academy Awards.

Natalia Meta, The Intruder

The film, described as a pyscho-sexual fantastic thriller, debuted at Berlinale last year.

The Intruder stars Érica Rivas, Nahuel Pérez Biscayart, Daniel Hendler, Cecilia Roth, Guillermo Arengo, Agustín Rittano, and Mirta Busnelli

It’s the story of Inés, a young woman who after a traumatic episode during a trip with her partner begins to confuse herself between the real and the imaginary.

Producers on the film are Rei Cine and Picnic Producciones, with co-producers Infinity Hill and Barraca Producciones, in association with Piano, Televisión Federal (Telefe) and Viacom International Studios.

Disney released the film locally.