On The Job: The Missing 8

Source: XYZ Films

‘On The Job: The Missing 8’

Entries for the 2023 Oscar for best international feature are underway, and Screen is profiling each one on this page.

Scroll down for profiles of each Oscar entry

An international feature film is defined as a feature-length motion picture produced outside the US with a predominantly (more than 50%) non-English dialogue track and can include animated and documentary features.

Submitted films must have been released theatrically in their respective countries between January 1, 2022 and November 30, 2022. The deadline for submissions to the Academy is October 3, 2022.

A shortlist of 15 finalists is set to be announced on December 21 with the final five nominees announced on January 24, 2022. The 95th Academy Awards will take place on March 12, 2023 at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles.

The 2022 awards saw 93 submissions, although Jordan withdrew their film, leaving 92 eligible entries. The final five nominees included Denmark’s Flee, Italy’s The Hand Of God, Bhutan’s Lunana: A Yak In The Classroom, Norway’s The Worst Person In The World and eventual winner Drive My Car from Japan.

Latest submissions

Philippines: On The Job: The Missing 8 (Erik Matti)

The sequel to Matti’s 2013 hit On The Job, this Venice 2021 competition title is actually the last four episodes of a HBO series (the first two episodes coming from the 2013 film) and comprises three hours and 28 minutes. The Missing 8 follows two interweaving stories: a journalist investigating the disappearance of his colleagues and a hitman sentenced for a crime he didn’t commit. The action thriller is the country’s 33rd submission and stars John Arcilla, who won Venice’s Volpi for best actor, and Dennis Trillo. As well as Venice, the film screened at Busan and Pingyao festivals and picked up 12 nominations at the Philippines critic’s awards (Gawad Urian). Production companies are Matti’s Reality MM Studios and Globe Studios. International sales: XYZ Films

Senegal: Xale (Moussa Sene Absa)

World premiering at the upcoming BFI London Film Festival (Dare) is a Wolof-French language drama based on a novel by Mandir N. Thiaw about a tragic incident that plagues a family even 10 years on. Absa, who wrote the film’s screenplay with Pierre Magny and Ben Diogaye Beye, is best known for his 2003 film Madame Brouette which played in competition at Berlin. Xale is produced by Les Films du Continent. This is Senegal’s fourth submission to the Oscars. Both its 2017 and 2019 entries - Alain Gomis’s Felicite and Mati Diop’s Atlantics – made the shortlist but did not secure nominations. World sales: Sudu Connexion

Malta: Carmen (Valerie Buhagiar)

In Malta’s third-ever Oscar submission, UK actor Natascha McElhone stars as the titular character - a woman whose life begins again at 50 after having cared for her brother, the local priest, since was she 16. Carmen is produced by Falkun Films and Canada’s Aiken Heart Films. It is Buhagiar’s third feature film and won best feature at the Canadian Film Fest. International sales: Storyboard Media

Americas

Argentina: Argentina, 1985 (Santiago Mitre)

Read article hereSales: Prime Video

Brazil: Mars One (Gabriel Martins)

A lower-middle-class Black family try to stay hopeful following the election of a right-wing government in Martins’ fourth feature film starring an ensemble cast of Rejane Faria, Carlos Francisco, Camilla Damião and Cícero Lucas. The drama premiered at Sundance where it was nominated for the grand jury prize in World Cinema and has since screened at Tribeca and San Sebastian festivals to name a few. It was produced by Martins, his brother Maurilo Martins, Thiago Macêdo Correia and André Novais Oliveira who all co-founded the Brazilian production company Filmes de Plastico. Brazil has submitted 52 films and scooped up four nominations (Keeper Of Promises in 1962; O Quatrilho in 1995; Four Days in September in 1997; Central Station in 1998)World sales: Magnolia Pictures

Canada: Eternal Spring (Jason Loftus)

Read full article hereInternational sales: Sideway Films 

Costa Rica: Domingo And The Mist (Ariel Escalante Meza)

Read full article here. World sales: Film Boutique 

Ecuador: Lo Invisible (Javier Andrade)

New mum Lusia struggle to cope when she returns home following a stint in the psychiatric hospital from post-partum depression. The film stars Anahí Hoeneisen, who also penned the screenplay with Andrade, as well as Juan Lorenzo Barragán and Matilde Lagos. Lo Invisible premiered in the Discovery strand of the 2021 Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) and has also screened at Malaga where it was nominated for best Iberoamerican film. As well as being Ecuador’s Oscar submission, the film will represent the country at Spain’s 37th Goya Awards. An Ecuadorian film is yet to be nominated for best international feature but the country has submitted 10 films to the category since 2000. World sales: Tropico Cine

Guatemala: The Silence Of The Mole (Anais Taracena)

Taracena’s documentary feature which premiered at Sheffield Doc/fest 2021 was awarded the Tim Hetherington Award. The film follows the story of a journalist in the 1970’s who infiltrated the repressive Guatemalan government to aid the resistance movement. The Silence Of The Mole world premiered at Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival last year and also won the special jury grand prize at the 23rd edition of the Jeonju Film Festival. It is produced by EK Balam Producciones, Asombro Producciones and Cine Murcielago. Guatemala has submitted three films, two being from director Jayro Bustamante whose horror film La Llorona made the shotlist in 2020. World sales: pending 

Mexico: Bardo, False Chronicle Of A Handful Of Truths (Alejandro G. Inarritu)

Read article hereWorld sales: Netflix 

Panama: Birthday Boy (Arturo Montenegro)

Montenegro follows up from his 2020 festival hit Everybody Changes, which was Panama’s 2019 Oscar submission, with Birthday Boy. Ahead of his 45th birthday party, Jimmy invites all his friends and family to spend one last weekend with him before he takes his own life. It stars Albi De AbrueJoavany Alvares, Julia Dorto and Gabriela Gnazzo, and is produced by Q Films’ Andry José Barrientos, who also co-wrote the script with Montenegro. Panama has never been nominated for an Oscar but has submitted eight times since 2014, the last in 2021 with Abner Benaim’s Plaza Catedral making the shortlistWorld sales: APM Entertainment

EAMI

Source: IFFR

‘Eami’

EAMI

Source: IFFR

‘EAMI’

Paraguay: Eami (Paz Encina)

When her homeland is invaded by settlers, an indigenous woman embodies a bird-God spirit that takes her away to the forest to help heal her pain. Encina’s second feature film, after 2006 Cannes Un Certain Regard winner Paraguayan Hammock, this mystical drama picked up the Tiger award at Rotterdam Film Festival and a nomination for best feature at Jerusalem. It is a co-production between Paraguay, Germany, Argentina, Netherlands, France and US. Paraguay has yet to secure an Oscar nomination from its previous five submissions. International sales: MPM Premium

Peru: Moon Heart (Aldo Salvini)

This science fiction title sees a lonely old woman finds comfort in the presence of an ant who becomes her “mechanical angel”. It Peru’s 29th submission, with the country scooping a nomination in 2009 for Claudia Llosa’s Golden Bear winning The Milk Of SorrowMoon Heart is produced by Universidad de Lima. Sales: pending

Uruguay: The Employer And The Employee (Manuel Nieto Zas)

Premiering in Cannes’ Directors’ Fortnight selection in 2021, Nieto’s third feature explores the relationship between the wealthy owner of agricultural companies and his employee, both trying to support their children, when tragedy strikes. The two leads are played by Nahuel Perez Biscayart and Cristian Borges and the title is produced by Zas, Bárbara Francisco, Georgina Baisch, Cecilia Salim, Paola Wink, Michael Wahrmann, Julia Alves, Nathalie Trafford. The Employer and The Employee went on to screen at Jerusalem, where it was nominated for the in the spirit of freedom award, and San Sebastian, where it was nominated for the Horizons award. Uruguay’s first submission in 1992, Adolfo Aristarain’s A Place In The World, was nominated for the Oscar but subsequently disqualified as an investigation uncovered that the production was almost entirely Argentinian. The country’s 20 submissions since have all failed to secure a nomination. International sales: Latido Films

Venezuela: The Box (Lorenzo Vigas)

This is Vigas’ second submission for international best feature – after 2016’s From Afar – and hopes to be the country’s first nomination. Nominated for a Golden Lion at Venice 2021 (From Afar previously won the award), the drama explores Mexico’s corrupt manufacturing industry as a son’s journey to collect his father’s ashes leads him down a path of shocking discovery. It was produced by Mexican companies Teorema and Labodigital with Los Angeles-based SK Global Entertainment. International sales: The Match Factor 

Asia

Armenia: Aurora’s Sunrise (Inna Sahakyan)

Detailing the life of silent film star and Armenian genocide survivor, Aurora Mardiganian, this documentary interweaves testimony, archive footage and animation to tell her story. The film premiered at Annecy International Animation Film Festival as part of the Contrechamp feature competition while Sahakyan’s other documentary Mel picked up a special mention at Thessaloniki Documentary Film Festival 2022. Aurora’s Sunrise is a co-production between Armenia (Bars Media), Lithuania (Artbox Laisvalaikio Klubas) and Germany (Gebruder Beetz Filmproduktion). Armenia has submitted to the Oscars 10 times since 2001, though its 2016 submission - Sarik Andreasyan’s Earthquake – was disqualified for not meeting submission requirements. International sales: Bars Media

Bangladesh: Hawa (Mejbaur Rahman Sumon)

Not to be confused with Maïmouna Doucouré’s TIFF 2022 title of the same name, Bangladesh’s 18th Oscar entry stars Chanchal Chowdhury, Nazifa Tushi and Sariful Razz in a mystery drama about a group of fishermen who catch a mysterious young girl at sea. This is the director’s second feature film and is produced by Sun Music & Motion Pictures and Facecard Production. Sales: pending

India: Last Film Show (Pan Nalin)

The country’s 55th submission centres on a young boy who falls in love with film at his local cinema and forms a close friendship with the projectionist. Last Film Show premiered at Tribeca in 2021 where it was nominated for a narrative audience award and has also screened at Beijing and Los Angeles film festivals. The film is a co-production between India (Jugaad Motion Pictures, Monsoon Films), France (Incognito Films, Virginie Films) and US (Stranger88). India has scooped up three nominations previously - Mehboob Khan’s Mother India in 1957 (its first submission); Mira Nair’s Salaam Bombay! in 1988; and Ashutosh Gowariker’s Lagaan in 2001. International sales: Orange Studio

Plan 75

Source: Urban Distribution International

Plan 75

Japan: Plan 75 (Chie Hayakawa)

After taking home the Oscar last year with Ryûsuke Hamaguchi’s Drive My Car, Japan will be hoping to repeat its success with Hayakawa’s debut feature which follows three different people wrapped up in the government’s new voluntary plan to euthanize the elderly and tackle its ageing society. Veteran actor Chieko Baisho stars, as one of the senior citizens taking part, alongside Hayato Isomura and Yumi KawaiPlan 75 premiered in the Un Certain Regard strand of this year’s Cannes where it picked up a special mention in the Golden Camera category. It is produced by Eiko Mizuno-Gray and Jason Gray of Loaded Films, and Frédéric Corvez and Maéva Savinien of Urban Factory. Besides last year’s win, Japan has won one other time with Yōjirō Takita’s Departures in 2008 and has been nominated 12 times from 69 submissions. Additionally, the country picked up three honorary awards during the 1950’s - Rashomon, Gate of Hell, and SamuraiThe Legend Of MusashiInternational sales: Urban Sales

Kazakhstan: Life (Emir Baigazin)

A modern fable set at a tech company, Baigazin’s Life world premiered in contemporary world cinema at this year’s Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF). Produced by his label Emir Baigazin Production, the film centres on the depressed and alcoholic CEO of a modern corporation, that specializes in the digitalization of memories, who struggles to keep his head afloat when the company is hit by a catastrophic data loss. Kazakhstan has submitted a total of 14 films since 1992 which it secured two nominations for - Ermek Tursunov’s Kelin in 2009 and Sergey Dvortsevo’s Ayka in 2018. World sales: pending

Kyrgyzstan: Home For Sale (Taalaibek Kulmendeev)

The country’s 15th entry to the Academy first premiered in Busan’s A Window For Asia strand. It is Kulmendeev’s second feature (after 2017’s Munabia) and follows a family being harassed by loan sharks who are forced to make some difficult decisions. Produced by Kyrgyzfilm and Shaboto film group. Sales: Shaboto 

Hong Kong: Where The Wind Blows (Philip Yung)

One of the most expensive Hong Kong films of all time, with a reported production budget of $38m, this crime epic stars Tony Leung Chiu-Wai, Aaron Kwok, Patrick Tam and Michael Chow as four notoriously corrupt police officers who rose to power in 1960s Hong Kong. The film opened this year’s Hong Kong International Film Festival in August, a year after it was pulled from opening HKIFF 2021 by the producer for “technical reasons” (a euphemism in mainland China for censorship). Director Yung’s previous feature, Port Of Call, was Hong Kong’s Oscar submission in 2015. Hong Kong has achieved three nominations in the category since its first submission in 1959, most recently in 2020 for Derek Tsang’s Better DaysWorld sales: Mei Ah Entertainment Group

Nepal: Butterfly On The Windowpane (Sujit Bidari)

Bidari’s debut feature first premiered in 2020 at Busan International Film Festival where it was nominated in the New Current strand. The film follows a young teenage girl desperate to get away from her rural village, gambling addict father and troublemaker brother. Icefall Productions, Arko Film and Local Cinema produce the title. Nepal’s first submission to the Oscars was in 1999 with Eric Valli’s Himalaya: Caravan receiving the country’s only nomination so far. Sales: pending

South Korea: Decision To Leave (Park Chan-wook)

Read the full article hereInternational sales: CJ ENM

Taiwan: Goddamned Asura (Lou Yi-An)

When a shooting occurs in a crowded night market, six individuals’ lives become intertwined. Lou’s crime drama is inspired by real events, and features a cast including Wang Yu-Xuan, Mo Tzu-Yi and Joseph Huang. Kao Chun-Ting, Hsu Kuo-Lun and Wang Shin-Hong produce. It premiered at the Golden Horse Film Festival, where Wang Yu-Xuan won the best supporting actress award. The film also scooped best screenplay and another best supporting actress award for Wang Yu-Xuan at Taipei Film Festival. It is Lou’s fourth feature, with credits including TV series Roseki. Taiwan most recently made the shortlist in 2020 with Chung Mong-Hong’s family drama A Sun. Prior to that, the last shortlisted entry was Wei Te-sheng’s Warriors Of The Rainbow: Seediq Bale in 2012. The last to achieve a nomination was Ang Lee’s martial-arts epic Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, which won the award and three further Oscars in 2001. World sales: Hope Marketing Entertainment

Vietnam: 578 Magnum (Dung Luong Dinh)

The action thriller which screened at this year’s Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival was submitted by the country’s Cinema Department. It follows a container driver who lives a normal life with his young daughter but when she is kidnapped by a dangerous gangster he comes up with a plan in an attempt to find her and seek revenge. The film is produced by Tu Van Media and Film Production, with H’Hen Nie, Alexandra Nguyen and Hoang Phuc Nguyen starring in the cast.  Vietnam made the shortlist once in 1993 with its first-ever submission, The Scent Of Green Papaya directed by Trần Anh Hùng. World sales: pending

Europe

Albania: A Cup Of Coffee And New Shoes On (Gentian Koçi)

In this drama, two identical deaf-mute twin brothers in their 40s discover they have a genetic disease that mean they will progressively and irreversibly go blind. Koçi’s previous feature, Daybreak, premiered in competition at Sarajevo Film Festival in 2017. His latest marks the 15th submission to the international feature award from Albania, which not yet made the longlist stage with its previous entries. World sales: Artalb Film

Austria: Corsage (Marie Kreutzer)

Read full article hereWorld sales: Mk2 Films

'Close'

Source: Screen File

‘Close’

Belgium: Close (Lukas Dhont)

Read full article here. International sales: The Match Factory

Bosnia and Herzegovina: A Ballad (Aida Begić)

This is the Bosnian director’s fourth submission to international best feature – following 2008’s Snow; 2012’s Children Of Sarajevo and 2018’s Never Leave Me – and follows a 30-year-old woman who moves back home after a divorce and decides to audition for a film shooting in the local neighbourhood. A Sarajevo best film nominee, A Ballad is produced by Film House. Bosnia and Herzegovina won the category in 2001 with Danis Tanović’s No Man’s Land and picked up a nomination in 2020 for Jasmila Žbanić’s Quo Vadis, Aida?International sales: Film House

Bulgaria: In The Heart Of The Machine (Martin Makariev)

Makariev’s fourth feature was submitted after Bulgaria’s original selection, Zornitsa Sophia’s Mother, was deemed ineligible by the academy for having too much English dialogue. Machine follows a young prisoner who is given a chance to shorten his sentence if he can gather a team to work at the industrial plant, but things soon go awry. Featuring an ensemble cast that includes Hristo Shopov, the crime thriller won best picture and best screenplay at the 2021 Bulgarian National Film Awards. It is produced by Forward Pictures. Bulgaria made the shortlist in 2009 with Stephan Komandarev’s The World Is Big And Salvation Lurks Around The CornerSales: 101 Films International

Czech Republic: Il Boemo (Petr Václav)

This period drama will world premiere in competition at San Sebastian and marks the sixth fiction feature by Vaclav, whose debut Marian won the Silver Leopard at Locarno in 1996. His latest is about Czech composer Josef Myslivecek, who travelled from Prague to Italy in the mid-18th century to fulfil his dream of becoming leading opera composer. The Czech Republic’s international Oscar peak came in 1997 when Jan Svěrák’s Kolya won the award. Subsequently, nominations were secured in 2001 and 2004, while Václav Marhoul’s The Painted Bird made the shortlist ahead of the awards in 2020. International sales: Loco Films

Denmark: Holy Spider (Ali Abbasi)

Read article hereInternational sales: Wild Bunch

Girl Picture

Source: Courtesy of Sundance Institute

‘Girl Picture’

Finland: Girl Picture (Alli Haapasalo)

This coming-of-age drama secured the audience award in Sundance’s World Dramatic Cinema strand and a nomination in Berlin’s Silver Bear award for best film. Aamu Milonoff, Eleonoora Kauhanen and Linnea Leino star as three teenage girls whose meeting of each other sparks first loves and new desires. Leila Lyytikainen and Elina Pohjola of Citizen Jane Productions produced the title. Girl Picture is Finland’s 35th submission to the international feature award; it has yet to win, but did pick up a nomination for Aki Kaurismäki’s The Man Without A Past in 2003 and just last year made the shortlist with Juho Kuosmanen’s Compartment No. 6International sales: LevelK

Estonia: Kalev (Ove Musting)

The country’s 20th Oscar submission is inspired by the true story of Estonia’s basketball team who competed in the 1991 championships held in the collapsing Soviet Union despite the negative public opinion. Musting penned the screenplay with Mehis Pihla and Martin Algus and producers are Allfilm and Ugri Film. Estonia has been nominated once in 2014 for Zaza Urushadze’s Tangerines and made the shortlist in 2016 with Tanel Toom’s Truth And Justice. Sales: pending

France: Saint Omer (Alice Diop)

Read full article here. International sales: Wild Bunch

Georgia: A Long Break (Davit Pirtskhalava)

Pirtskhalava’s directorial debut at a school reunion 15 years later that quickly becomes a trial for one former classmate who used to be a bully. Pirtskhalava’s 2015 short film Mama picked up Locarno’s Golden Pardino - Leopards of Tomorrow award in international competition as well as a best film nomination at Sarajevo. A Long Break recently had its world premiere in the discovery strand at TIFF. The film is produced by Millimeter Film. Out of 20 submissions since 1996, Georgia has only made the shortlist once in 2014 for Giorgi Ovashvili’s Corn IslandInternational sales: Syndicado 

Germany: All Quiet On The Western Front (Edward Berger)

Read full article hereWorld sales: Netflix 

Greece: Magnetic Fields (Yorgos Gousis)

After meeting by chance, a man and a woman decide to embark on a road trip to bury a mysterious metal box in Gousis’ debut film which picked up best film, first- time director, screenplay and best actress prizes at the 2022 Iris film awards of the Hellenic Film Academy. Gousis wrote the script with Elena Topalidou and Antonis Tsiotsiopoulos, who star in the film, and it was produced by Yorgos Karnavas and Konstantinos Kontovrakis’ local powerhouse Heretic. Despite a strong local film industry, Greece has never won the international feature award from 40 previous entries but has secured five nominations, most recently in 2011 with Yorgos Lanthimos’ DogtoothWorld sales: Heretic

Hungary: Blockade (Ádám Tősér)

This historical drama charts the real life story of Hungary’s first democratically elected Prime Minister, switching between his freedom fighter days of 1956 and the infamous four day taxi blockade of 1990. It was written by Norber Köbli and by produced by Film Positive’s Tamás Lajos. The country has picked up the Oscar in this category twice before - in 1981 for Istvan Szabo’s Mephisto and in 2014 for László Nemes’ Son Of Saul - and has been nominated a further eight times. International sales: NFI World Sales  

Iceland: Beautiful Beings (Guðmundur Arnar Guðmundsson)

Guðmundsson’s sophomore feature about a teenage boy who brings a younger, bullied boy into his violent gang. Beautiful Beings had its world premiere at Berlin where it won the Europa Cinemas label and is produced by Join Motion Pictures in co-production with Denmark’s Motor; Sweden’s Hobab and Film i Väst; The Netherlands’ Bastide Films; and Czech Republic’s Negativ Film Productions. Iceland has won the Oscar once – in 1991 for Friðrik Þór Friðriksson’s Children Of Nature. The country made the shortlist for the second time last year with Valdimar Jóhannsson’s horror LambInternational sales: New Europe Film Sales 

Ireland: The Quiet Girl (Colm Bairéad)

Read the full article hereInternational sales: Bankside Films

Italy: Nostalgia (Mario Martone)

Read article hereInternational sales: TrueColours

looking for venera

Source: Film Republic

‘Looking For Venera’

Kosovo: Looking For Venera (Norika Sefa)

Last year’s entry for Kosovo, Sundance history maker Hive from Blerta Basholli, made the Oscars shortlist after seven previous submissions from the country since 2014. Hoping to follow in those footsteps is Sefa’s debut feature about a quiet Kosovar teenager whose new friend encourages her to question her patriarchal family and explore her emerging sexuality. Looking For Venera has already enjoyed a favourable run on the European festival circuit: at Rotterdam, it was nominated for the Tiger award and managed to scoop up the jury prize while at Sarajevo, where it was also screening in the main competition, the drama received a special mention “for promoting gender equality”. Elsewhere, at Hong Kong festival, the film won best international director and actress (for titular star Kosovare Krasniqi) in the Young Cinema strand. Besnik Krapi of Circle Productions produces. International sales: Film Republic

Latvia: January (Viestur Kairish)

This is Kairish’s second time hoping to bring home an Oscar for Latvia - the first being 2017’s The Chronicles Of Melanie - and this coming of age story picked up best international feature at Tribecca earlier this year. The film is set in post-Soviet era and follows an aspiring filmmaker and his friends figuring themselves out amidst political turmoil. January stars Karlis Arnolds AvotsAlise DanovskaSandis RungeBaiba BrokaAleksas Kazanavicius and Juhan Ulfsak and is produced by Latvia’s Mistrus Media, Inese Boka-Grube and Gints Grube, and co-produced by Lithuania’s Artbox and Poland’s Staron Film. Latvia has yet to be nominated for an Oscar but has submitted 13 previous times. World sales: The Yellow Affair

Lithuania: Pilgrims (Laurynas Bareisa)

Read article here. World sales: Reason8

Luxembourg: Icarus (Carlo Vogele)

This is Vogele’s feature directing debut, following a stint working in animation at Pixar on titles such as Toy Story 2, Cars 2, Monster’s University and Brave/ The animated adventure film is inspired by Greek mythology and centres around a young boy who dares to stand up to the King in order to save his childhood friend. It is produced by Iris Productions and France’s Rezo Productions, and co-produced by Belgium’s Iris Films, Proximus and Belga Productions. World sales: Bac Films  

Moldova: Carbon (Ion Borș)

Bors’ directorial debut and the country’s third-ever submission premiered in the New Directors strand at this year’s San Sebastian, after winning the WIP Europa industry prize at the festival in 2021. Set in the early 90s, the black comedy follows two friends who stumble upon a carbonised body and embark on an unusual road trip to investigate its identity. Borș produced with his Kantora Film Production along with fellow Moldavan companies Pascaru Production and Badeamic, and Romania’s Maya Film Studio. International sales: Axxon Media   

Montenegro: The Elegy Of Laurel (Dušan Kasalica)

A Sarajevo best film nominee 2021, Kasalica’s mythical drama follows a man who, after his wife announces she’s leaving him, wanders into the forest where he falls in love with a woman that was once a snake. This is Kasalica’s debut feature: his 2015 short film Biserna Obala won the Heart of Sarajevo award and his 2019 short Love Supreme (co-directed with Teodora Ana Mihai) opened Cannes Directors’ Fortnight along with four other shorts. The Elegy Of Laurel is produced by Meander Film and Serbia’s Non-Aligned Films. Montenegro has submitted eight times since 2014 with no nominations. International sales: Meander Film 

The Netherlands: Narcosis (Martijn de Jong)

The debut feature of de Jong revolves around a close-knit family that is disrupted when the father dies during a professional dive. The cast is led by Thekla Reuten, who starred in Oscar-nominated Dutch feature Twin Sisters in 2002, and Fedja van Huêt, the lead actor in crime drama Character, which also marked the last time the Netherlands won the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar in 1998. Produced by Oak Motion Pictures, it will world premiere at the Netherlands Film Festival in September. The last three times the country made the shortlist was for Black Book in 2006, Winter In Wartime in 2009 and Accused in 2014. International sales: Coccinelle Film Sales

North Macedonia: The Happiest Man In The World (Teona Strugar Mitevska)

This is Mitevska’s second submission to the Oscars after 2008’s I’m From Titov Veles and follows two 40-somethings who start dating - one is looking for love and the other looking for redemption for his past. Premiering in Venice Horizons 2022, The Happiest Man In The World is a co-production between Macedonia (Sister and Brother Mitevski); Belgium (Entre Chien et Loup); Bosnia and Herzegovina (SCCA / prob.ba); Croatia (Terminal 3); Denmark (Frau Film); and Slovenia (Frau Film). International sales: Pyramide

Norway: War Sailor (Gunnar Vikene)

Norway’s most expensive film ever made (with a budget of nearly $11.1m) depicts the real-life story of how two civilian sailors were thrust to the forefront of battle during World War II. War Sailor premiered at International Film Festival Haugesund, where it picked up the audience award, before screening at TIFF in the contemporary world cinema section. It is produced by Vikene’s frequent collaborator Mer Film and co-produced by Germany’s Rohfilm Factory and Studio Hamburg alongside Malta’s Falkun Films. Norway’s 2021 submission was Joachim Trier’s global success The Worst Person In The World, which made the nominations stage. International sales: Beta Cinema

EO

Source: Aneta Gębska / Filip Gębski

‘EO’

Poland: EO (Jerzy Skolimowski)

A contemporary adaptation of Robert Bresson’s 1966 cult classic Au Hasard Balthazar, Skolimowski’s latest features follows the life of EO, a donkey who travels from a Polish circus to an Italian slaughterhouse. Isabelle Huppert headlines the cast, alongside Sandra Drzymalska, Lorenzo Zurzolo and Mateusz Kosciukiewicz. Skolimowski, whose credits also include 2010’s Essential Killing and 2015’s 11 Minutes, produces the title with EO co-writer Ewa Piaskowska of Skopia Film, and Italian producer Eileen Tasca of Alia Film. UK producer Jeremy Thomas is the executive producer through his Recorded Picture Company. Premiering in competition at the Cannes film festival earlier this year, the drama picked up the jury prize (jointly awarded with The Eight Mountains) and best soundtrack. Poland has won the Oscar once, in 2014 with Paweł Pawlikowski’s Ida, and has been nominated 11 times out of 57 submissions - the first in 1963 for Roman Polanski’s Knife In The WaterWorld sales: HanWay Films

Portugal: Alma Viva (Cristèle Alves Meira)

Hoping to secure the country’s first nomination is Meira’s debut feature about a sensitive young girl trying to come to terms with the death of her grandmother. The film premiered at Cannes’ Critics Week earlier this year where it was also nominated for a Golden Camera award. France’s Fluxus Films, Portugal’s Midas Filmes and Belgium’s Entre Chien et Loup produced. World sales: Kinology

Serbia: Darkling (Dušan Milić)

Milić’s fourth feature is set in post-war Kosovo and sees a family living in fear each night when military protection disappears and unknown horrors await them in the forest outside their house. The project debuted at the Trieste Film Festival, winning the audience award. Film Deluxe International and This and That Productions produced with Italy’s A_Lab, Bulgaria’s RFF International, Denmark’s Space Rocket Nation, and Greece’s Graal S.A. Serbia has never secured a nomination but Srdan Golubović’s The Trap made the shortlist in 2007. World sales: Wide Management.

Slovenia: Orchestra (Matevž Luzar)

This black and white feature follows a small town brass band that go on tour to perform in a small Austrian town, which allows the musicians to escape their everyday lives and face up to some home truths. It marks the second feature of Luzar following comedy Good To Go in 2012 and premiered at Cottbus Film Festival. Slovenia has submitted films for the category since 1993 but has yet to make the shortlistWorld sales: Gustav Film 

Spain: Alcarràs (Carla Simon)

Read full article hereWorld sales: Mk2 Films

Sweden: Boy From Heaven (Tarik Saleh)

Read article here. International sales: Memento

Switzerland: A Piece Of Sky (Michael Koch)

Set in a remote Swiss Alpine village, Koch’s second feature centres on a recently ­married rural wife’s attempts to deal with her husband’s increasingly erratic behaviour after he is diagnosed with a brain tumour. Co-produced by Zurich-based Hugofilm and Germany’s Pandora Film, the feature had its world premiere in competition at the Berlinale where it received a special mention from the jury. It has since been invited to more than 20 festivals including Karlovy Vary, Hong Kong and Locarno as well as Mexico’s Guanajuato, where it won best international feature. Switzerland has twice won the international feature award: Richard Dembo’s Dangerous Moves in 1985 and Xavier Koller’s Journey of Hope in 1991. The country has not received a nomination since, with three prior to Dembo’s victory. World sales: New Europe Film Sales

Romania: Immaculate (Monica Stan, George Chiper)

A young woman wields her perceived innocence to her advantage when she enters a rehab facility for heroin addiction. The film premiered at Venice’s Giornate degli Autori in 2021 and ended up taking home awards for best debut film, best director(s) and the Women Screenwriters Under 40 award for Stan (who based the screenplay on personal experiences). Romania’s only nomination came in 2020 with Alexander Nanau’s Collective, though the country did make the shortlist in 2012 with Cristian Mungiu’s Beyond The HillsImmaculate is produced by Axel Film. World sales: Syndicad 

Klondike

Source: Courtesy of Sundance Institute

‘Klondike’

Ukraine: Klondike (Maryna Er Gorbach)

A festival favourite, Gorbach’s war drama has already picked up best directing in dramatic world cinema at Sundance, where it premiered, the Panorama prize at Berlin and best director at Sarajevo, to name a few. The Ukraine-Turkey co-production between Kedr Film and Protim VP follows a family living on the border of Ukraine and Russia amidst war, conflict and the international air catastrophe that occurred July 17, 2014. Ukraine has submitted 14 times since 1997, though was disqualified in 2004 for Pavlo Chukhrai’s A Driver For Vera owing to insufficient Ukrainian contribution, and has not received a nomination yet. International sales: ArtHood Entertainment 

Middle East and Africa 

Algeria: Our Brothers (Rachid Bouchareb)

The country’s first ever submission in 1969, Costa Gavras’ Z, took home the Oscar and Algeria has since submitted 21 other times. Bouchareb has secured three out of four of the country’s subsequent nominations - Dust Of Life in 1995, Days Of Glory in 2006 and Outside The Law in 2010 - and will be hoping to repeat history once more with Our Brothers. The film screened in Cannes’ Premiere strand earlier this year and is inspired by the story of Malik Oussekine, a young man killed by police following student demonstrations in 1986. It stars French cinema mainstays Reda Kateb and Samir Guesmi alongside Raphael Personnaz and rising star Lyna Khoudri (Gagarine). Bouchareb produced the title for 3B Productions and co-writes with novelist Kaouther AdimiInternational sales: Wild Bunch 

Iran: World War III (Houman Seyyedi)

Fresh from its Venice premiere, where it won best film and best actor (for Mohsen Tanabandeh) in the Horizons strand, is Seyyedi’s dark comedy about an aspiring actor cast in a war film with tyrant filmmakers and a secret lover, played by Neda Jebraeili, that risks jeopardising his new career. Iran has two Oscars under its belt – 2011’s A Separation and 2016’s The Salesman both from Asghar Farhadi – and one nomination from Majid Majidi 1998 entry Children Of Heaven. Seyyedi wrote the script for World War III with Arian Vazirdaftari and Azad Jafarian and acts as a producer on the title. The film beat out the likes of Mani Haghighi’s Subtraction to secure the country’s submission entry. International sales: Iranian Independents 

Israel: Cinema Sabaya (Orit Fouks Rotem)

A group of women, some Arab and some Jewish, take part in a filmmaking workshop that forces them to confront their differences and get to know each other in Israel’s submission to the Academy. The film picked up best Israeli debut at Jerusalem Film Festival and eight nominations at the Israeli Film Academy awards. Green Productions produces. Israel has 10 nominations in the category but no wins so far. International sales: Memento International

Jordan: Farha (Darin J. Sallam)

Set in 1948 Palestine, Sallam’s debut is inspired by true events and follows a 14-year-old who is locked up in a small room in an abandoned village where she tries to survive. The film world premiered at Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) last year and picked up the special mention award at the 2022 Red Sea International Film Festival. TaleBox and Laika Film & Television co-produced the feature. Jordan secured its only nomination in 2015 with Naji Abu Nowar’s Theeb. Last year the country withdrew Mohamed Diab’s drama Amira from selection following a local backlash against the film. World Sales: Picture Tree International 

Kenya: TeraStorm (Andrew Kaggia)

Produced by Kenyan 3D animation company Afrikana Digital, TeraStorm sees a group of superheroes team up to defeat an ancient wizard who’s threatening to destroy the earth. This is Kaggia’s feature debut and he also acts as writer and executive producer. Kenya has submitted six other times since 2012 but has yet to claim a nomination. Sales: pending

Mediterranean Fever

Source: Luxbox

Mediterranean Fever

Palestine: Mediterranean Fever (Maha Haj)

An aspiring but depressed writer living in Hafia forms an unlikely friendship with his small-time crook neighbour in Haj’s second feature. It premiered in Cannes’ Un Certain Regard strand where it picked up the best screenplay award. Mediterranean Fever is a co-production between Germany’s Pallas Film, France’s Still Moving, Cyprus’s AMP Filmworks and Haifa-­based Majdal Films. From 14 previous submissions, Hany Abu-Assad directed both of Palestine’s nominations – 2005’s Paradise Now and 2013’s OmarInternational sales: Luxbox

Tunisia: Under The Fig Trees (Erige Sehiri)

Tunisian-French director Sehiri made her fiction feature debut with this gentle human drama set in an orchard, which played at Directors’ Fortnight in Cannes. The film follows a group of teenage girls working as fig pickers. Tunisia scored its first-ever Oscar international feature nomination at the 2021 awards for Kaouther Ben Hania’s The Man Who Sold His SkinInternational sales: Luxbox

Turkey: Kerr (Tayfun Pirselimoğlu)

This crime thriller follows a man who witnesses a murder and reports it to the police, only to find himself implicated. Based on Pirselimoglu’s novel of the same name, the filmmaker is known for features such as Hair, which played in competition at Locarno in 2010. Turkey has yet to receive an Oscar nomination in this category from 29 previous submissions, five of which came from renowned director Nuri Bilge Ceylan, who came closest to a nod when reaching the shortlist with Three Monkeys in 2009. World sales: Gataki Films

Uganda: Tembele (Morris Mugisha)

Making history as Uganda’s first ever Oscar submission, this drama follows a man who works on a garbage truck, battling a mental setback after losing a son. It is written, directed and produced by actor-turned-director Mugisha who first rose to fame in 2008 on reality show Big Brother Africa. His debut film Stain picked up five nominations at the 2021 African Movie Academy Awards and a win for leading actor Joan Agaba. Tembele stars Patriq Nkakalukanyi, Ninsiima Ronah, who co-wrote the screenplay with Mugisha, and Cosmas Sserubogo. MO ideas produces. International sales: MO Ideas

Oceania 

Indonesia: Missing Home (Bene Dion Rajagukguk)

Based on the director’s own novel, this comedy-drama sees two parents - who desperately want their children to come back home - orchestrate a plan to pretend they are getting a divorce. It is produced by Imajinari and Kathanika Entertainment. Though no nominations, Indonesia’s 23 submissions have recently included 2021 TIFF Platform winner Yuni; 2018 festival favourite Memories Of My Body; and 2017 Cannes Directors’ Fortnight title Marlina The Murderer In Four ActsSales: pending

New Zealand: Muru (Tearepa Kahi)

Based on the real events of 2007, Cliff Curtis stars as a Maori police officer conflicted when an Indigenous community is raided by police over suspicions of a domestic terrorist cell. The drama opened New Zealand Film Festival and had its international premiere at TIFF’s Contemporary World Cinema section before it screens at Busan’s Flash Forward strand in October. Alongside Curtis is Jay Ryan, Manu Bennett and Simone Kessell. Production companies are Jawbone Pictures, October 15 and Wheke Group. World sales: Arclight Films