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« NYFF: In Jackson Heights| Main| Women's Pictures - Antonia Bird's Ravenous »
Thursday
Oct 08 2015

Oscar's Foreign Race Pt 2: Female Directors & Debut Filmmakers

Pt 1 - All 81 Movie Trailers
Pt 2 Everything You Wanted to Know About the Foreign Language Film Category...*But Were Afraid to Ask

Mustang has a female director and female cast.Will this be a good year for women in Oscar's Foreign Film race?

The next time you see someone tweeting about the lack of female directors that get work in Hollywood,please point them toOscar's Foreign Language Film category.This category reminds us,year after year,that Hollywood is not the entirety of Cinema.We'd do well to commit that to memory.And progressive thinking moviegoers would do well to seek out the alternate voices that already exist that they say they want...even if that requires reading subtitles.

You see,each year countries around the world are asked to submit one film to represent their entire country at the Oscars (it need no longer be in an indigenous language to that country,亚博主页just not in English).Each year at least a handful of countries submit films directed by women.This year it's much more than that.Now,that might not be a direct correlative to "it's better for female directors in ____ than in the USA"but it'snotnothing!

Consider the act in reverse.Can you imagine Hollywood,if they were forced to submit one film that represented them for a whole calendar year,choosing a female-directed film to speak for them?Given their lack of interest in films about women let alone films directed by them,this seems unthinkable.The sole exception is probably Kathryn Bigelow's military dramaThe Hurt Locker(2009).

Where are the Women?Right Here!
This year the Oscar race for Best Foreign Language Film has81contenders.A total of13of those films are directed or co-directed by women.[More...]

They are:

Sixteen percent of the list is a healthy percentage if you compare it to recent reports from Hollywood about how strangely few directing jobs go to women and especially healthy when you know that each country can only make one selection."This,"they're essentially saying,"is our best."

Debut Films

Czech director Slávek Hórak with his actresses from his debut feature "Home Care"

27of this years 81 competition films are from first timers!It's hard enough to get a movie made in the first place.Now imagine making your first and your country names it their very best for the film year.Congratulations to these newbies.It happened to them:

  • Bota(Albania)Iris Elezi&Thomas Logorechave both previously (and separately) made narrative and documentary shorts.This is the first feature film for both of them.
  • Arrows of the Thunder Dragon(Australia)Greg Sneddonhas previously mostly written music for television.Weirdly IMDb lists this film with a subtitle of The Director's Cut but without a previous version what is the point of the distinction?
  • Goodnight Mommy(Austria)READ OUR INTERVIEW
  • Jalal's Story(Bangladesh).Abu Shahed Emonhad only worked on a couple of short films before this debut feature
  • Our Everyday Life(Bosnia).Ines Tanovic,no relation to Bosnian Oscar winner Danis Tanovic (No Man's Land) as far as I am aware
  • The Last Reel(Cambodia).Kulikar Sothohad previously worked as a location manager,production coordinator before helming his first feature.She's already at work on a second film.
  • Home Care(Czech Republic)Slávek Horákmakes his first feature after a successful career in directing commercials.His only previous film credit was  2nd AD on the Oscar winnerKolya(1996)
  • Lamb(Ethiopia)Yared Zeleckehad previously made shorts
  • Mustang(France)Deniz Gamze Ergüvenhas made short films and worked as an actress before this feature debut
  • Labyrinth of Lies(German)Giulio Ricciarellipreviously worked as an actor in features as well as a director of shorts before making this feature -READ OUR INTERVIEW.
  • Ixcanul(Guatemala)Jayro Bustamantehad previously only made a couple of shorts

  • Son of Saul(Hungary)László Nemesmade three shorts before this debut film made a huge splash at Cannes this summer
  • Court(India)Chaitanya Tamhanehad made one short before
  • Baba Joon(Israel)Yuval Delshadhad previously worked in docs before this narrative debut
  • Theeb(Jordan)Naji Abu Nowarhad crafted a couple of shorts
  • Babai(Kosovo)Visar Morinahad made two shorts previously
  • Heavenly Nomadic(Kyrgyzstan)Mirlan Abdykalykovwas an actor before this debut behind the camera
  • Modris(Latvia)Juris Kurseitisworked as an AD and made shorts before this debut
  • 600 Miles(Mexico)Gabriel Ripsteinhad previously worked as a producer and screenwriter
  • The Wanted 18(Palestine) Though his directing partner had made others,this isAmer Shomali's first documentary feature
  • Cloudy Times(Paraguay) another debut documentarian here inArami Ullón
  • Goat(Slovakia)Ivan Ostrochovskyhad previously made a doc but this is his first narrative feature
  • The Tree(Slovenia)Sonja Prosenchad acted and been an AD before this
  • The Two Of Us(South Africa)Ernest Nkosihad produced shorts before this
  • How To Win at Checkers (Every Time)(Thailand) Josh Kim had previously made shorts
  • Sivas(Turkey)Kaan Mujdecihad previously made a short film
  • A Moonless Night(Uruguay)German Tejeirahas previously made short films

Do you think all of these new voices indicate promising diversity in the future or is this a symptom of something else?Do you think it's wishful thinking that filmmaking is an easier field to break into abroad for women than it is in Hollywood?

READ MORE ABOUT THE FOREIGN FILM CATEGORY
- and check outthe official submission chartsfor posters,official sites and details

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References (4)

References allow you to track sources for this article,as well as articles that were written in response to this article.

Reader Comments (6)

Again thanks for this very handy list,I will be using it as my guide for the next few months.

October 8,2015 | Unregistered CommenterLadyEdith

This is so extensive and informative.

October 8,2015 | Unregistered CommenterKevin

I will now clicking back and forth between this post and the trailer post to see which film belongs to which woman/newbie.This is great!

October 9,2015 | Unregistered CommenterIvonne

You should be in the Foreign Film Comitee.

Cheryl Boone Isaacs are you listening?!!!

October 9,2015 | Unregistered CommenterPeggy Sue

SON OF SAUL,surely the closest we'll ever get to Bela Tarr winning an Oscar (or,hell,even being thanked on an Oscars telecast).亚博主页

October 9,2015 | Unregistered CommenterGlenn Dunks

Thanks a lot for those lists.These stats are quite encouraging.

October 9,2015 | Unregistered CommenterCharlie

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