Aug 01, 2021
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Canucks have two films to cheer for at Oscars

TORONTO – Nabbing an Oscar nomination for best foreign-language film is rare enough for a Canadian-made movie.

But two films with Canuck roots landing nominations in the category? Pretty much unheard of. Until now.

This year, two of the five films vying for Hollywood’s most prestigious prize have strong Maple Leaf connections, although just one technically represents the Great White North.

The country’s official submission is the bittersweet francophone dramedy “Monsieur Lazhar,” a festival hit that comes from the same producers as last year’s homegrown Oscar contender, “Incendies.”

It faces off against the wrenching Holocaust drama “In Darkness,” a co-production that started with a Canadian script and Canadian producers before bringing on its main backers in Poland.

“It’s wonderful that we have this situation now with the Oscars,” says the film’s Toronto-based scribe David Shamoon, who drew his inspiration from a Toronto newspaper article.

“It speaks highly, I think, of the talent that’s in this country.”

Oscar rules allow just one film per country to compete. But it’s not unusual for one country to have a stake in more than one nominee because of co-production ventures. France is a frequent nominee, if you count its many international alliances:

In 1990, it had a stake in three films: its official submission “Camille Claudel,” the Canadian co-production “Jesus of Montreal” (submitted on behalf of Canada) and the ultimate winner, “Cinema Paradiso,” from Italy.

France three-peated again in 2009, when its official nominee, “The Class,” competed against Germany’s co-production “The Baader Meinhof Complex” and the Israeli co-production “Waltz with Bashir” (which also boasted partners from Germany, U.S., Finland, Switzerland, Belgium and Australia). All films lost to “Departures” from Japan.

However, this appears to be the first time Canada has had an official nominee competing against another film with deep homegrown connections.

The coup sheds well-deserved light on Canuck filmmakers who are making their mark on the international stage, says Telefilm boss Carolle Brabant.

“Having two Canadian-backed films in the running for best foreign-language film is a tribute to the talent of Canadian artists and also offers a superb showcase for our industry and our country as a whole,” Brabant said in an email from Germany where she was promoting Canadian productions at the Berlin International Film Festival.

“In Darkness” is inspired by the true story of Leopold Socha, a sewer worker in Nazi-occupied Poland who risked his life to hide a group of Jews in a filthy underground labyrinth during the Second World War.

Shamoon came across Socha’s story in a Toronto newspaper in 2003 and was so enthralled that he optioned a book about the man’s experiences and wrote a screenplay.

From there, he lured Canadian producers Eric Jordan and Paul Stephens to shepherd the project, and they brought on Polish director Agnieszka Holland (“Europa, Europa”) to helm the feature.

Shamoon, who spent his entire career in advertising up until a few years ago, says the project hit very close to home.

His parents were Iraqi Jews who were forced to flee a pogrom in 1941 known as the Farhud. They sought refuge in India, where Shamoon and his brothers were born, and later moved to Iran where Shamoon spent his teenage years.

Shamoon moved to Canada in 1970 after studying advertising in the United States.

“For me it was never really just a Holocaust story, it was a real human drama,” says Shamoon.

“We think to ourselves, ‘Oh, well, if we were in that situation we’d do the same thing or we’d do even more’ or whatever. But the fact of the matter is, it was extraordinarily difficult for Socha to do what he did. And not just the physical danger that he had to face, but it was also the people themselves that he was trying to save — they were not terribly grateful, they weren’t terribly nice.”

Shamoon’s shift into filmmaking was a gradual one, with screenwriting courses and other attempted scripts squeezed in between advertising jobs for clients including SE Johnson, Proctor & Gamble, National Trust and Unitel.

“In Darkness” was his first stab at adapting a book, Robert Marshall’s “In the Sewers of Lvov,” and his first effort to make it to the big screen.

“It’s very much a fairly tale, there’s no question,” says the 64-year-old, who earned a Genie nomination for best adapted screenplay, one of three nods for the film.

“When you start doing it, all you really want is to get your script read. That’s the first order and you get very excited when someone, anyone, will read your script and then you sort of progress from there, you know.”

Although Shamoon wrote the script in English, Holland insisted that the original languages be used for the film. As a result, the story unfolds in Polish, Yiddish, German and Ukrainian and with English subtitles.

Shamoon says “In Darkness” has been embraced by Polish audiences and has garnered 10 nominations for that country’s version of the Oscars.

“It has outperformed ‘Sherlock Holmes,’ Steven Spielberg’s ‘War Horse;’ there are people who are seeing it two or three times. People are discussing it constantly there,” says Shamoon, whose next film is a comic road movie.

“It’s not necessarily something that we aimed for but we did want some dialogue to happen about the Polish people’s involvement in the Second World War, both good and bad.”

He added that he’s looking forward to rubbing shoulders with Hollywood’s elite at the Academy Awards on Feb. 26.

“In Darkness” and “Monsieur Falardeau” are up against Belgium’s “Bullhead,” Israel’s “Footnote,” and Iran’s “A Separation,” which won the Golden Globe for best foreign-language film earlier this month.

“In Darkness” will be released across Canada on Friday.

Source: CTV News

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Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Uncategorized

Canucks have two films to cheer for at Oscars

TORONTO – Nabbing an Oscar nomination for best foreign-language film is rare enough for a Canadian-made movie.

But two films with Canuck roots landing nominations in the category? Pretty much unheard of. Until now.

This year, two of the five films vying for Hollywood’s most prestigious prize have strong Maple Leaf connections, although just one technically represents the Great White North.

The country’s official submission is the bittersweet francophone dramedy “Monsieur Lazhar,” a festival hit that comes from the same producers as last year’s homegrown Oscar contender, “Incendies.”

It faces off against the wrenching Holocaust drama “In Darkness,” a co-production that started with a Canadian script and Canadian producers before bringing on its main backers in Poland.

“It’s wonderful that we have this situation now with the Oscars,” says the film’s Toronto-based scribe David Shamoon, who drew his inspiration from a Toronto newspaper article.

“It speaks highly, I think, of the talent that’s in this country.”

Oscar rules allow just one film per country to compete. But it’s not unusual for one country to have a stake in more than one nominee because of co-production ventures. France is a frequent nominee, if you count its many international alliances:

In 1990, it had a stake in three films: its official submission “Camille Claudel,” the Canadian co-production “Jesus of Montreal” (submitted on behalf of Canada) and the ultimate winner, “Cinema Paradiso,” from Italy.

France three-peated again in 2009, when its official nominee, “The Class,” competed against Germany’s co-production “The Baader Meinhof Complex” and the Israeli co-production “Waltz with Bashir” (which also boasted partners from Germany, U.S., Finland, Switzerland, Belgium and Australia). All films lost to “Departures” from Japan.

However, this appears to be the first time Canada has had an official nominee competing against another film with deep homegrown connections.

The coup sheds well-deserved light on Canuck filmmakers who are making their mark on the international stage, says Telefilm boss Carolle Brabant.

“Having two Canadian-backed films in the running for best foreign-language film is a tribute to the talent of Canadian artists and also offers a superb showcase for our industry and our country as a whole,” Brabant said in an email from Germany where she was promoting Canadian productions at the Berlin International Film Festival.

“In Darkness” is inspired by the true story of Leopold Socha, a sewer worker in Nazi-occupied Poland who risked his life to hide a group of Jews in a filthy underground labyrinth during the Second World War.

Shamoon came across Socha’s story in a Toronto newspaper in 2003 and was so enthralled that he optioned a book about the man’s experiences and wrote a screenplay.

From there, he lured Canadian producers Eric Jordan and Paul Stephens to shepherd the project, and they brought on Polish director Agnieszka Holland (“Europa, Europa”) to helm the feature.

Shamoon, who spent his entire career in advertising up until a few years ago, says the project hit very close to home.

His parents were Iraqi Jews who were forced to flee a pogrom in 1941 known as the Farhud. They sought refuge in India, where Shamoon and his brothers were born, and later moved to Iran where Shamoon spent his teenage years.

Shamoon moved to Canada in 1970 after studying advertising in the United States.

“For me it was never really just a Holocaust story, it was a real human drama,” says Shamoon.

“We think to ourselves, ‘Oh, well, if we were in that situation we’d do the same thing or we’d do even more’ or whatever. But the fact of the matter is, it was extraordinarily difficult for Socha to do what he did. And not just the physical danger that he had to face, but it was also the people themselves that he was trying to save — they were not terribly grateful, they weren’t terribly nice.”

Shamoon’s shift into filmmaking was a gradual one, with screenwriting courses and other attempted scripts squeezed in between advertising jobs for clients including SE Johnson, Proctor & Gamble, National Trust and Unitel.

“In Darkness” was his first stab at adapting a book, Robert Marshall’s “In the Sewers of Lvov,” and his first effort to make it to the big screen.

“It’s very much a fairly tale, there’s no question,” says the 64-year-old, who earned a Genie nomination for best adapted screenplay, one of three nods for the film.

“When you start doing it, all you really want is to get your script read. That’s the first order and you get very excited when someone, anyone, will read your script and then you sort of progress from there, you know.”

Although Shamoon wrote the script in English, Holland insisted that the original languages be used for the film. As a result, the story unfolds in Polish, Yiddish, German and Ukrainian and with English subtitles.

Shamoon says “In Darkness” has been embraced by Polish audiences and has garnered 10 nominations for that country’s version of the Oscars.

“It has outperformed ‘Sherlock Holmes,’ Steven Spielberg’s ‘War Horse;’ there are people who are seeing it two or three times. People are discussing it constantly there,” says Shamoon, whose next film is a comic road movie.

“It’s not necessarily something that we aimed for but we did want some dialogue to happen about the Polish people’s involvement in the Second World War, both good and bad.”

He added that he’s looking forward to rubbing shoulders with Hollywood’s elite at the Academy Awards on Feb. 26.

“In Darkness” and “Monsieur Falardeau” are up against Belgium’s “Bullhead,” Israel’s “Footnote,” and Iran’s “A Separation,” which won the Golden Globe for best foreign-language film earlier this month.

“In Darkness” will be released across Canada on Friday.

Source: CTV News

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Uncategorized

Canucks have two films to cheer for at Oscars

TORONTO – Nabbing an Oscar nomination for best foreign-language film is rare enough for a Canadian-made movie.

But two films with Canuck roots landing nominations in the category? Pretty much unheard of. Until now.

This year, two of the five films vying for Hollywood’s most prestigious prize have strong Maple Leaf connections, although just one technically represents the Great White North.

The country’s official submission is the bittersweet francophone dramedy “Monsieur Lazhar,” a festival hit that comes from the same producers as last year’s homegrown Oscar contender, “Incendies.”

It faces off against the wrenching Holocaust drama “In Darkness,” a co-production that started with a Canadian script and Canadian producers before bringing on its main backers in Poland.

“It’s wonderful that we have this situation now with the Oscars,” says the film’s Toronto-based scribe David Shamoon, who drew his inspiration from a Toronto newspaper article.

“It speaks highly, I think, of the talent that’s in this country.”

Oscar rules allow just one film per country to compete. But it’s not unusual for one country to have a stake in more than one nominee because of co-production ventures. France is a frequent nominee, if you count its many international alliances:

In 1990, it had a stake in three films: its official submission “Camille Claudel,” the Canadian co-production “Jesus of Montreal” (submitted on behalf of Canada) and the ultimate winner, “Cinema Paradiso,” from Italy.

France three-peated again in 2009, when its official nominee, “The Class,” competed against Germany’s co-production “The Baader Meinhof Complex” and the Israeli co-production “Waltz with Bashir” (which also boasted partners from Germany, U.S., Finland, Switzerland, Belgium and Australia). All films lost to “Departures” from Japan.

However, this appears to be the first time Canada has had an official nominee competing against another film with deep homegrown connections.

The coup sheds well-deserved light on Canuck filmmakers who are making their mark on the international stage, says Telefilm boss Carolle Brabant.

“Having two Canadian-backed films in the running for best foreign-language film is a tribute to the talent of Canadian artists and also offers a superb showcase for our industry and our country as a whole,” Brabant said in an email from Germany where she was promoting Canadian productions at the Berlin International Film Festival.

“In Darkness” is inspired by the true story of Leopold Socha, a sewer worker in Nazi-occupied Poland who risked his life to hide a group of Jews in a filthy underground labyrinth during the Second World War.

Shamoon came across Socha’s story in a Toronto newspaper in 2003 and was so enthralled that he optioned a book about the man’s experiences and wrote a screenplay.

From there, he lured Canadian producers Eric Jordan and Paul Stephens to shepherd the project, and they brought on Polish director Agnieszka Holland (“Europa, Europa”) to helm the feature.

Shamoon, who spent his entire career in advertising up until a few years ago, says the project hit very close to home.

His parents were Iraqi Jews who were forced to flee a pogrom in 1941 known as the Farhud. They sought refuge in India, where Shamoon and his brothers were born, and later moved to Iran where Shamoon spent his teenage years.

Shamoon moved to Canada in 1970 after studying advertising in the United States.

“For me it was never really just a Holocaust story, it was a real human drama,” says Shamoon.

“We think to ourselves, ‘Oh, well, if we were in that situation we’d do the same thing or we’d do even more’ or whatever. But the fact of the matter is, it was extraordinarily difficult for Socha to do what he did. And not just the physical danger that he had to face, but it was also the people themselves that he was trying to save — they were not terribly grateful, they weren’t terribly nice.”

Shamoon’s shift into filmmaking was a gradual one, with screenwriting courses and other attempted scripts squeezed in between advertising jobs for clients including SE Johnson, Proctor & Gamble, National Trust and Unitel.

“In Darkness” was his first stab at adapting a book, Robert Marshall’s “In the Sewers of Lvov,” and his first effort to make it to the big screen.

“It’s very much a fairly tale, there’s no question,” says the 64-year-old, who earned a Genie nomination for best adapted screenplay, one of three nods for the film.

“When you start doing it, all you really want is to get your script read. That’s the first order and you get very excited when someone, anyone, will read your script and then you sort of progress from there, you know.”

Although Shamoon wrote the script in English, Holland insisted that the original languages be used for the film. As a result, the story unfolds in Polish, Yiddish, German and Ukrainian and with English subtitles.

Shamoon says “In Darkness” has been embraced by Polish audiences and has garnered 10 nominations for that country’s version of the Oscars.

“It has outperformed ‘Sherlock Holmes,’ Steven Spielberg’s ‘War Horse;’ there are people who are seeing it two or three times. People are discussing it constantly there,” says Shamoon, whose next film is a comic road movie.

“It’s not necessarily something that we aimed for but we did want some dialogue to happen about the Polish people’s involvement in the Second World War, both good and bad.”

He added that he’s looking forward to rubbing shoulders with Hollywood’s elite at the Academy Awards on Feb. 26.

“In Darkness” and “Monsieur Falardeau” are up against Belgium’s “Bullhead,” Israel’s “Footnote,” and Iran’s “A Separation,” which won the Golden Globe for best foreign-language film earlier this month.

“In Darkness” will be released across Canada on Friday.

Source: CTV News

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Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

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