New Zealand has picked Samoan-language feature The Orator (O Le Tulafale) to represent the country, the first submission ever from New Zealand. Plus submissions from South Africa and Uruguay.

The feature debut from writer-director Tusi Tamasese played in Venice Orizzonti and sales are handled by NZ Film.

Graeme Mason, who is on the selection committee said: “This is the first time New Zealand has submitted a film for consideration for the Foreign Language Film category of the Academy Awards. The selection of this film by a committee of such calibre is a further endorsement of the special qualities of this beautiful film and could provide a terrific platform for Tusi’s career as a filmmaker.”

Meanwhile, South Africa has put forward Beauty (Skoonheid) by Oliver Hermanus. The Afrikaans language film, about a closeted family man, premiered in Cannes Un Certain Regard.

And Uruguay has selected The Silent House, which has already had a US remake. The original is an acclaimed Spanish-language horror directed by Gustavo Hernandez.