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Swiss Oscar entry ‘Iraqi Odyssey’ bought by Typecast – Oscar puts 10 docu shorts on its short list

LOS ANGELES, Oct 27, (RTRS): Typecast Films has acquired US rights to the documentary “Iraqi Odyssey,” Switzerland’s entry for the Academy Awards in the foreign language film category.

The movie will be released in New York and Los Angeles on Nov 27 before expanding nationwide in 2016. Typecast Films will release the English-language version of the film in theaters, while the version that has qualified as the Swiss Oscar entry is in German.

“Iraqi Odyssey” tells the story of director Samir’s globalized middle-class Iraqi family, who live in New Zealand, Russia, France, the UK and Buffalo, NY Samir himself was born in Baghdad, but grew up in Switzerland.

“Iraqi Odyssey,” which is a co-production between Switzerland, Germany and UAE, received its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2014. It won the best Asian Film Award and the NETPAC award at the Abu Dhabi Film Festival, and the Panorama audience award at the Berlin Film Festival.

The five films nominated for the foreign-language film Oscar will be revealed on Jan 14. The Oscar awards ceremony will take place on Feb 28.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced that the field of documentary short subject contenders for the 88th Academy Awards has been narrowed to 10 films, half of which will receive Oscar nominations.

Voters from the Academy’s documentary branch viewed this year’s 74 eligible entries and submitted their ballots to PricewaterhouseCoopers for tabulation.

The 10 films are listed below in alphabetical order by title, with their production companies:

“Body Team 12,” RYOT Films and Vulcan Productions “Chau, beyond the Lines,” Cynasty Films “Claude Lanzmann: Spectres of the Shoah,” Jet Black Iris America “50 Feet from Syria,” Spin Film “A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness,” SOC Films “Last Day of Freedom,” Living Condition “Minerita,” Kanaki Films “My Enemy, My Brother,” Fathom Film Group “Starting Point,” Munk Studio — Polish Filmmakers Association “The Testimony,” Atria Film in association with Escape Artists

The nominations will be announced live on Thursday, Jan 14 at 5:30 am PT at the Academy’s Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills.

The 88th Oscars will be held on Feb 28 at the Dolby Theatre at Hollywood & Highland Center in Hollywood, and will be televised live by ABC.


LOS ANGELES: Josh Hutcherson and Ben Kingsley will star in the political thriller “Backstabbing for Beginners.” Danish director Per Fly is helming the film which starts shooting in January. Hutcherson will play an idealist who lands his dream job as a program coordinator for the UN’s Oil for Food program, who’s thrown into an already fraught post-war Iraq where government agents and power-hungry nations are circling the country’s oil reserves. Kingsley will portray his boss, a seasoned diplomat who is the one person that Hutcherson’s character can trust — only to discover that there may be a conspiracy at the highest level.

Fly, who directed “Monica Z” starring Edda Magnason, co-wrote “Backstabbing” with Daniel Pyne (“The Manchurian Candidate”), inspired by Michael Soussan’s memoir, “Backstabbing for Beginners: My Crash Course in International Diplomacy.”

The producers are Lars Knudsen and Jay Van Hoy of Parts and Labor, Malene Blenkov and Nikolaj Vibe Michelsen of Creative Alliance, and Daniel Bekerman of Scythia Films. Patrick Ryborn from Eyeworks Scandi Fiction AB is co-producing.

Kingsley and Hutcherson are executive producers alongside Gregory Shockro from Houndstooth, Fortitude’s Robert Ogden Barnum, Poa Stromberg from Eyeworks, Jacob Jorgensen from JJ Film, and Lars Tregart and Jeff Kalligheri from Waterstone.

Fortitude International is handling foreign rights and will launch sales at the upcoming American Film Market. UTA Independent Film Group, which arranged the financing with the producers, is representing US rights. Entertainment One has acquired Canadian rights.

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