IRELAND’S 2012 FOREIGN LANGUAGE OSCARS SUBMISSION IS AS IF I AM NOT THERE
The Irish Film & Television Academy (IFTA) has announced that Ireland’s submission for the Foreign Language category for the 2012 Academy Awards is Juanita Wilson’s As If I Am Not There.
Each year, the American Academy invites countries outside of the US to submit one eligible film to represent that country. Key eligibility is that the film must be made in any language other than English. It is an exciting category that opens up opportunities to showcase some of the world’s finest productions to the US and other markets.
The Irish Film & Television Academy is the official organisation responsible for Ireland ’s submission for this category, and this year Ireland will have a very strong submission with the moving and beautiful film ‘As If I Am Not There’, the feature debut from Irish writer/director Juanita Wilson. Set in the Balkans, developed and produced by Octagon Films in Bray and Wide Eye Films in Dublin and shot primarily in the Croatian language, the primary creative control and talent behind the film is Irish (including writer/director Juanita Wilson, producer James Flynn, DP Tim Fleming, editor Nathan Nugent, etc).
As If I Am Not There won three top Awards at the IFTA Ceremony earlier this year – Best Film, Best Director and Best Script, and was nominated in a further five categories. Since then it has won awards at a number of high profile festivals throughout the world including prestigious U.S festivals for independent feature films (award summary sheet attached).
Juanita Wilson was previously nominated for an Academy Award in 2010 for her live action short film The Door. In January 2011 at a ceremony at the Palm Springs Film Festival where As If I Am Not There was screened, Wilson was selected amongst Variety’s Top Ten Directors to Watch. This followed the premiere of As If I Am Not There at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2010 which garnered a rave review in Variety magazine at the time. Wilson was the only woman on the list of named directors.
Speaking about the Selection, As If I Am Not There writer/director Juanita Wilson said: “It’s great to have my work recognised in this way and a tribute to my team.”
IFTA Chief Executive Áine Moriarty said: “IFTA is delighted to announce Ireland ’s 2012 Foreign Language entry for the 84th Academy Awards in Los Angeles . This film will be such a strong contender this year for Ireland in this Oscar category, representing the very best of Irish creative talent.”
As If I Am Not There Producer James Flynn commented: “Juanita and the entire Octagon team are both delighted and privileged to be selected as Ireland’s entry for the 2012 Academy Awards. We’d like to our extend our sincere thanks to the Irish Film Board for backing the project from inception and to congratulate our entire cast and crew including Natasha Petrovic, Tim Fleming (DOP), Nathan Nugent (Editor) and our producers Nathalie Lichtenthaeler, Karen Richards, Lena Rehnberg and Vladimir Anastasov. Special mention to Slavenka Drakulic who wrote the wonderful book which inspired this film.”
About the Film:
Starring Natasa Petrovic and Miraj Grbic, the As If I Am Not There is hard hitting true story from the Balkan War of the 1990’s, based on Croatian writer Slavenka Drakulic’s book of the same name.
The story follows a young woman from Sarajevo whose life is shattered the day a young soldier walks into her apartment and tells her to pack her things. Rounded up with the other women from the village and imprisoned in a warehouse in a remote region of Bosnia , she quickly learns the rules of camp life. The day she is picked out to ‘entertain’ the soldiers, the real nightmare begins.
Stripped of everything she ever had and facing the constant threat of death, she struggles against all the hatred she sees around her. In a final act of courage or madness, she decides to make one last stand: to dare to be herself. And this simple act saves her life.
As If I Am Not There is an Irish/Macedonian/Swedish co-production filmed in the Serbo-Croatian language on location in Macedonia in late 2009. Developed and produced by Irish producers James Flynn (Octagon Films) and Nathalie Lichtenthaeler (Wide Eye Films), the Irish creative team behind the project also includes Cinematographer Tim Fleming, Editor Nathan Nugent and Composer Brian Crosby.
As If I Am Not There represents Ireland ’s 2nd submission for the US Academy’s Foreign Language Film category following Tom Collins’ Irish-language drama Kings, which was chosen for consideration in 2009.
As If I Am Not There was released across Ireland during March and April in 2011, followed by a UK theatrical release in July. As If I Am Not There is an official Irish/Macedonian/Swedish co-production from Octagon Films, Wide Eye Films, Sektor Film Skopje and Stella Nova Films with financial contribution from the Irish Film Board, the Swedish Film Institute/Film I Vast, Macedonian Film Fund, Section 481 investment and Eurimages.
About the Selection & The Category
The submission of As If I Am Not There was approved by an independent selection committee comprised of Members of the Irish Academy .
The 84th Annual Academy Awards will be held on February 26, 2012. Nominations will be announced during the fourth week of January.
Over 60 countries submit to this category every year.
The Foreign Language category rules state that the creative control of a foreign language motion picture must be largely in the hands of citizens or residents of that country. In addition, the rules define a foreign language film as “a feature-length motion picture produced outside the United States of America with a predominantly non-English dialogue track.”
The selected film is not required to be in the submitting country’s native language, in Ireland ’s case Gaelic, but can be in any language other than the English language so long as the creative control (i.e. writer, director, producer, cinematographer etc.) is largely in the hands of Irish filmmakers. For further eligibility information visit: www.oscars.org