Micha Lewinsky's feature debut The Friend (Der Freund) has been selected by an expert group convened by the Federal Office for Culture to be Switzerland's entry for the Foreign Language Oscar.
The drama about a shy outsider who poses as the boyfriend of a woman after her sudden death and is welcomed into her family was named Best Film at this year's Swiss Film Awards.
In addition, the newly created prize of Best Emerging Actor or Actress went to The Friend's lead actor Philippe Graber for his performance as the boyfriend, his first lead role in a feature film.
The Friend was released theatrically in Switzerland earlier this year by Frenetic Films and is being handled internationally by Cologne-based sales agent Media Luna Entertainment.
The tragicomedy was shown at this month's Toronto International Film Festival and has also been invited to the forthcoming Chicago Film Festival.