A specially chosen committee for the National Council on Culture and the Arts has selected the films that will represent Chile in three international film awards. Matías Bize’s film “The life of Fish” will be submitted to the American Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to be considered for an Oscar nomination in the Best Foreign Film category. Bize’s film has also been submitted for the category of Best Hispano-American film in Spain’s Goya Awards. For Mexico’s Ariel Awards, the committee will submit Alejandro Fernández Almendras’s film “Huacho” for Best Ibero-American Film, a category that includes all Spanish and Portuguese-speaking nations in Latin America.
The two films have already been screened at some of the world’s most prestigious film festivals, with Mr. Bize’s film shown in Venice, and Mr. Almendras’ at Cannes, Toronto and Sundance.
Submissions committees for the three international awards will review all submitted films before deciding on the official nominees. According to a press release from the National Council on Culture and the Arts, the Council will use its Fund for Audiovisual Development to promote the films amongst foreign selection committees. If Chile’s films are selected they will be extended to the commercial public.
This year, the National Council on Culture and the arts has expanded its selection committee from a group of 5 to 37 specialists. The first 30 places in the committee were divided evenly amongst writers, directors, producers, actors, audio-visual specialists and musicians. The final seven places were filled by members of the National Council on the Arts and Audiovisual Industry, a subcommittee under the National Council on Culture and the Arts.
The two selected films take different approaches to the challenges of change in contemporary Chile. In Bize’s film, a young Chilean who has lived in Berlin for ten years returns home briefly before settling permanently in Germany. Lead by four non-professional actors, Mr. Almedras’ film follows three generations of Chileans living around the city of Chillán in the southern portion of the country’s agricultural Central Valley. The film examines the consequences of rapid modernization in the Chilean countryside.
This year has also seen Minister of Culture Luciano Cruz-Coke travel to the United States to promote Chile as a location for foreign film crews. Changes in this year’s selection process are part of a larger effort on the part of the Chilean government to enhance the visibility of its growing film industry overseas.