Two heavyweight film nations submitted their candidates for the Academy Awards foreign language category yesterday (Oct 1) - the final deadline day for entries.
Italy chose Gabriele Salvatores's acclaimed thriller I'm Not Scared, while Spain submitted David Trueba's Salamina Soldiers.
Italians will be hoping that Salvatores can repeat his 1992 best foreign picture Oscar win for his World War II tale Mediterraneo, which also starred Diego Abantatuono.
Salvatores's I'm Not Scared has been sold in around 60 countries worldwide. Set in the countryside in the south of Italy, the film is about a young boy who discovers a child in an abandoned house.
I'm Not Scared stars Diego Abantantuono and Dino Abbrescia, and was produced by long-term Salvatores partner Maurizio Totti at Milan's Colorado Film together with Rome production outfit Cattleya, Medusa, Spain's Alquimia and the UK's The Producers Films.
The film, which is being sold by Capitol Films, has been acquired for distribution in the US by Miramax.
I'm Not Scared was competing for a shot at the Oscars with several other Italian films, including Marco Tullio Giordana's The Best of Youth (also distributed in the US by Miramax), Ferzan Ozpetek's Facing Windows and Marco Bellocchio's Buongiorno, Notte.
David Trueba's Soldiers Of Salamina (Soldados De Salamina) was selected by the Spanish Film Academy.
A co-production between Fernando Trueba and Lolafilms, Soldiers beat out the Academy's other two semi-finalists, Fernando Colomo's South From Granada (Al Sur De Granada) and Antonio Gimenez-Rico's Danube Hotel (Hotel Danubio).
The film, based on Javier Cercas' best-selling novel, screened to excellent reviews in Un Certain Regard at Cannes and won a best script prize in Copenhagen. Adriana Gil stars as a writer investigating a singular episode in the Spanish Civil War. Diego Luna, Ramon Fontsere, Joan Dalmau and Maria Botto co-star.
Meanwhile, veteran Manoel de Oliveira's A Talking Picture (Um Filme Falado) was selected to represent Portugal by a three-person jury appointed by the Institute for Cinema, Audiovisual and Multimedia (ICAM).
The multi-lingual Talking Picture stars Leonor Silveira, John Malkovich, Catherine Deneuve and Irene Papas in the story of a history professor and her daughter who embark on a Mediterranean cruise which becomes a journey through history. Paulo Branco produced through his Madragoa Filmes and Gemini Films, with Italy's Mikado.
List of foreign language Oscar contenders:
Belgium: Sea Of Silence
Bolivia: Sexual Dependency
Bosnia and Herzegovina: Fuse
Canada: The Barbarian Invasions
China: Warriors Of Heaven And Earth
Egypt: Saha El Layaly
France: Bon Voyage
Germany: Good Bye, Lenin!
Hong Kong: Infernal Affairs
Iceland: Noi Albinoi
Italy: I'm Not Scared
Korea: Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter... And Spring.
Mexico: Aro Tolbukhin: In The Mind Of A Killer
Netherlands: Twin Sisters
Norway: Kitchen Stories
Portugal: A Talking Picture
Slovenia: Spare Parts
Spain: Salamina Soldiers
Thailand: Last Life In The Universe