Oliver Hermanus’ acclaimed film Skoonheid has been announced as South Africa’s official entry into the Oscars category for Best Foreign Film.
The announcement was made by the South African Academy Selection Committee under the patronage of the National Film and Video Foundation (NFVF). If selected by the Oscars Academy Award Selection Committee, it will be South Africa’s third film to participate in the category.
Last year’s contestant, Life above All, made it to the Top 9, but the South African committee has high hopes for Skoonheid.
"The international success of the film demonstrates that although not an English language film, it is a film that resonates and appeals to the larger global market," says Azania Muendane, Head of Marketing and Public Affairs.
The first co-production film under the South Africa/ France co-production treaty, Skoonheid was the first Afrikaans film to be selected for the Cannes International Film Festival's Un Certain Regard section and won the Queer Palm Award during the festival.
News from Toronto, Canada, where the film was screening in the Official Selection of the Toronto International Film Festival 2011 reported that the film secured an American distribution deal with TLA Releasing. Channel24 also reported that the film was also sold to the territory of Poland.
Peter Goldsmid, South African Academy Selection Committee spokesperson said the film stood out as a representation of good South African filmmaking meeting all the criteria.
“Our decision was unanimous. Skoonheid was by far the best film; it held the audience, it had a protagonist with real internal conflict, it had a strong structure, and it is a compelling, assured piece of work by a confident director with a distinctive vision and point of view. What also stood out were excellent performances and the assured realisation of the world of the story. It clearly met the criteria.”
Oliver Hermanus, Skoonheid's director was excited when the news was shared with the team, "I am extremely honoured and proud to have Skoonheid represent South Africa as the official country selection for the Academy Awards. It has been an amazing year for us as a team, we strove to produce something provocative and thought provoking, and it is extremely rewarding and encouraging to see our work be acknowledged and supported in this way. I will keep my fingers firmly crossed for a nomination!" he said.
Skoonheid has successfully been distributed in the UK, Holland, Australia, France, Germany and Italy.
According to a statement, the NFVF and the South African Academy Awards Selection Committee wishes the team behind the film best of luck.