Film und Medien Stiftung NRWNewsPressFive NRW-funded films submitted for Foreign Oscar

Five NRW-funded films submitted for Foreign Oscar

„Mustang“ for France, „Babai“ for Kosovo, „Iraqi Odyssey“ for Switzerland, „A Pigeon Sat on A Branch…“ for Sweden and „Modris“ for Latvia

  • Announcment of the Oscar nominations on 14 January, 2016
  • Oscar ceremony on 28 February, 2016

Five NRW-funded films have been submitted to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in the Best Foreign Language Feature Film category. France has sent „Mustang“ by Deniz Gamze Ergüven into the race, while „Babai“ by Visar Morina will represent Kosovo . The decision was taken in Switzerland to pick Samir’s Iraqi Odyssey“. Sweden’s choice of „A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence“ by Roy Andersson and „Modris“ by Juris Kursietis from Latvia complete the list of NRW-funded submissions.

„We congratulate the teams of the five Filmstiftung-backed productions. The producers in NRW are very involved in international cinema co-production. Coming as far as being selected for the Foreign Language Oscar is a wonderful endorsement for the films and everyone involved,” says Petra Müller, CEO of the  Film- und Medienstiftung NRW. „Touch wood for the rest of the Oscar race!“

„Mustang“ for France
Her debut feature „Mustang“ sees the Turkish director Deniz Gamze Ergüven telling a coming-of-age story about five Turkish girls fighting for their freedom and self-determination. „Mustang“ was produced by Düsseldorf-based Vistamar Filmproduktion and Cologne’s  Uhlandfilm. The co-producers are CG Cinema (F) and BAM Films (TR). The leads are played by Günes Sensoy, Doga Zeynep Doguslu, Tugba Sungurolgu, Elit Iscan and Ilayda Akdogan. The Filmstiftung NRW supported with 100,000 Euros, ZDF/ARTE is a partner. Other backers are the CNC and FFA with the Minitraité, Eurimages and the Doha Film Institute, among others. World sales are being handled by France’s Kinology.  Weltkino will be releasing the film in German cinemas on 3 March, 2016. The multi-award-winning international co-production had its world premiere in the spring in Cannes and received the „Europa Cinemas Label“ there. In the French pre-selection, „Mustang“ beat off competition from such films as this year’s Cannes winner „Dheepan“. „Mustang“ has so far attracted around 450,000 cinema-goers into the cinemas in France.

„Babai“ for Kosovo
Babai“ by Visar Morina centres on a father and son who earn their living by selling cigarettes on the streets of pre-war Kosovo in the 1990s. When the father secretly disappears to Germany, his ten-year-old son sets off after him on his own. „Babai“ was produced by NiKo Film in co-production with Skopje Film Studio (MKD), Produksioni Krusha (KO) and Eaux Vives Productions (FR), the other backer is nordmedia, with WDR and ARTE as broadcasters. The Film- und Medienstiftung NRW supported with 450,000 Euros. The film is being distributed by missingFilms. Kosovo’s Oscar candidate received three German Cinema New Talent Awards at the Filmfest München in June.

„Iraqi Odyssey“ for Switzerland
Iraqi Odyssey“ by Samir is Switzerland’s candidate in the Oscar race.  The documentary shows the major changes Iraq has experienced over the last decades. Today, they are images of war, angry bearded men, women with veils, destroyed cities. However, the 50s and 60s were a time of new beginnings.  Images and films from those days shown self-confident women, elegantly dressed men, Baghdad on the way to democracy. Occupation, dictatorship and the numerous wars meant the end of the Iraqi middle class. Samir’s family now lives scattered between Auckland, Moscow, New York, Zurich and London. How could it come to this? The German-Swiss co-production by Dschoint Ventschr and Cologne’s COIN FILM was made with participation from WDR and SRF. The production had its world premiere at Toronto International Film Festival in 2014. The Filmstiftung NRW supported the project with 100,000 Euros, additional funding came from the Zürcher Filmstiftung and BAK, among others. International sales are handled by Autlook Filmsales. NFP marketing&distribution will release the film in German cinemas on 14 January, 2016.

„A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence“ for Sweden
The winner of the Golden Lion at Venice in 2014, „A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence“ by Roy Andersson, is the story of two world-weary men who travel around selling party novelties, and also provides insight into a chaotic world of past, present and future, and between reality and fantasy; a world of dreams and fantasies. Holger Andersson, Nils Westblom, Sture Olsson und Ingvar Olsson can be seen in the leads.  The film was made as a co-production by Roy Andersson Filmproduktion AB (Sweden) with Essential Filmproduktion (Berlin), Société Parisienne de Production (France) and 4 1/2 Fiksjon AS (Norway), with ZDF/ARTE, Arte France Cinéma and Sveriges Television as participating broadcasters. The Film- und Medienstiftung NRW backed the production with 100,000 Euros, with additional funding coming from Eurimages, Swedish Film Institute, Nordisk Film & TV Fund, Norwegian Film Fund and Centre National du cinéma et de l’image animée. The film was distributed in Germany by Neue Visionen. The Swedish Oscar candidate posted over 100,000 admissions in German cinemas at the beginning of 2015

„Modris“ for Latvia
Modris“ by Juris Kursietis is a production by Cologne’s Sutor Kolonko Filmproduktion in association with Red Dot Media (LV) and Boo Productions (GR) and celebrated its world premiere in Toronto in 2014. Kristers Pikša, Rēzija Kalniņa and Inese Pudža can be seen in the leads. Unable to cope with her teenage son Modris, his mother reports him to the police for a small misdimeanour. But the teenager’s everyday life won’t let itself be easily subordinated to the conditions of his suspended sentence. Latvia’s Oscar submission – which director Juris Kursietis based on a true story – received support from the Filmstiftung NRW (80,000 Euros) and Eurimages, with additional funding coming from Latvia and Greece.

NRW-funded films have often been nominated for the Oscars in consecutive years, such as „Pina“, „Le Peuple Migrateur“, „Farinelli“, „Amelie From Montmarte“, „Paradise Now“ or „Schtonk!“. In 2009, Kate Winslet won the Oscar as Best Lead Actress for her role in „The Reader“, which was shot in large part at Cologne’s MMC Studios. The Filmstiftung supported the production with 1.5 million Euros. In 2013, the Oscar for Best Documentary went to „Searching for Sugar Man“ by Malik Bendjelloul, which received distribution funding from the Filmstiftung.

Labyrinth Of Lies“ by Giulio Ricciarelli has been selected as Germany’s Oscar candidate. Following  the publication of the shortlist at the end of the year, the nominations for the 88th Academy Awards will be announced on 14 January, 2016. The awards ceremony will then take place on 28 February, 2015.