The furore over the Dutch Oscar entry The Silent Army has been fuelled after the film’s director Jean van de Velde hit back at producers criticising its selection.

The director has spoken out against film industry figures who claims that the film contain too much English dialogue, and insists it should be allowed its shot at Oscar glory.

But Dutch producer San Fu Maltha has criticised national film agency Holland Film for submitting a film for the foreign language Academy Award which - he claims - is not eligible on a number of different counts.

“We believe that the film will not be accepted by the Academy,” Maltha, who said he was speaking on behalf of a coalition of producers including Isabellla Films and NL Films, declared. These producers are taking legal action in an attempt to have the film de-selected.

Van de Velde says has been surprised by their tactics and hurt by suggestions that French film-maker and critics Pierre Rissient oversaw a re-edit of the original film.  “The one thing I truly don’t understand is why they (the producers) didn’t call me in the first place - why call a lawyer?”

Claudia Landsberger, spokeswoman for Holland Film, insists that the film is eligible, but in response to the criticism, the agency is going back to the selection committee “as soon as possible” to allow its members to decide again. This may happen as soon as next week.  The official deadline for foreign language Oscar submission is October 1.

“We feel an to obligation to inform them (the committee members) about what is really the case,” said Claudia Landsberger of Holland Film. “There is so much confusion. They need to be informed correctly. That is why we have asked them to come back together. If they feel they have made the right decision (about The Silent Army), that will be it.”

The row over the selection of The Silent Army has been exacerbated because there had been a number of other high-profile movies vying for the Oscar nomination, among them Winter In Wartime, Bride Flight and The Storm. There are fears that if The Silent Army is submitted and rejected, some fear the Dutch may end without an Oscar candidate.