China's State Administration of Radio, Film and Television (SARFT) has announced that it has selected documentary Dream Weaver - Beijing 2008 as the country's contender for best foreign-language film at the Academy Awards. It is the first time China has chosen a documentary for the category.

The film, produced by state-owned Central Studio of News Reels Production, recruiting hurdles athlete Liu Xiang, basketball star Yao Ming and the Chinese gymnastic team, is a documentary about how Beijing prepared for the Olympics over the past the seven years.

Filmmaker Gu Jun took seven years to document the urban renewal of the city, the demolition of traditional houses and the construction of the spectacular stadium, the Bird's Nest.

Officials of the foreign exchange department of the Film Bureau under SARFT said the result is the decision of a special selection committee of the bureau, but declined to give further comment on why the film won out as China 's Oscar contender.

It is understood that state-owned film production company China Film Group also intended to submit two highly-anticipated films: Chen Kaige's biopic Mei Lanfang and Lu Chuan's war film Nanking ! Nanking ! to join the Oscar qualification run. Both films were unable to prepare the qualification screening before Oct 1.

China Film Group president Han Sanping last week announced that Chen Kaige's Mei Lanfang had passed censorship, however, the film's publicist said Chen was still working on post-production of the film.