Debut feature set in Turkey to represent France.
France has selected Deniz Gamze Ergüven’s Mustang as its entry to the Best Foreign-Language Film Category at the 88thAcademy Awards.
The debut feature, which premiered at Cannes in Directors’ Fortnight this year, revolves around five sisters growing up in a remote Turkish village.
The film - sold internationally by Paris-based Kinology - was picked up by Cohen Media Group for the US and the UK’s Curzon Artificial Eye following its Cannes premiere.
It was announced on Monday that Mustang was also in the running for the European Film Awards’ European Discovery prize aimed at first-time films.
Other films on the shortlist included Catherine Corsini’s Summertime (La Belle Saison), Jacques Audiard’s Dheepan, Stéphane Brizé’s The Measure of a Man (La Loi du Marché) and Xavier Giannoli’s Marguerite.
Mustang’s selection was greeted with surprise by many in the French film industry who were expecting either Audiard’s Palme d’Or winner Dheepan or Giannoli’s box office success Marguerite to be chosen.
Turkish-born Ergüven, who grew up between Paris and Ankara, attended France’s respected film school Femis. She co-wrote the Mustang script with filmmaker Alice Winocour.
The €1.3m ($1.45m) budget film is a French-Turkish-German co-production lead produced by French Charles Gillibert of CG Cinema with support from Turkish Bam Films and Germany’s Vistamar Filmproduktion and Uhland Film.
France’s National Cinema Centre (CNC) and its president Frédérique Bredin oversaw the work of the selection committee
This year the committee comprised actress Nathalie Baye, Cannes chief Thierry Frémaux, Oscar-winning director Michel Hazanavicius; actress and director Mélanie Laurent, Unifrance president Jean-Paul Salomé, Alain Terzian, president of France’s Oscar equivalent the Césars, and Serge Toubiana, president of the Cinématheque Francaise as well as head of the CNC’s advance on receipts committee.
Having drawn up a shortlist last week, the committee made its final decision on the basis of contributions from the producer and international seller for each film on Tuesday morning
The announcement of the five foreign-language films nominated for the Oscar is made on Jan 14, 2016.
The 88th Academy Awards will take place at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood on Feb 28, 2016.