International Oscars Race: Tajikistan Submits ‘Melody’

Tajikistan has selected drama film “Melody” as its national representative in the 2023 Oscars’ best international feature film category (see details below).

All submissions and materials for the 2023 race must be received by the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts & Sciences by 5pm Monday Oct, 2. And films must meet all the qualifying conditions between Dec. 1, 2022 and Oct. 31, 2023. A shortlist of 15 will be announced on Dec. 21. Final nominees will be announced on Jan. 23, 2024. The 96th Academy Awards is set to take place on Mar. 10, 2024.

Tajikistan: “Melody”

The selection of “Melody” is the first time in 18 years that Tajikistan has chosen to enter the category and only its third time ever.

The film is the story of a woman (Melody) who teaches at a center for children with cancer. With 30 children at the hospice, she is asked to compose a piece using the songs of 30 different birds. She finds just 20 and her mute helper makes Melody understand that hunters have forced the old bird expert out of the village.

“Melody” is written, directed and produced by Behrouz Sebt Rasoul, who is also a novelist and experienced director of commercials. Production is by Sebt Rasoul’s company Nama Film Company.

Shot in the Persian language as a Tajikistan-Iran coproduction, “Melody” enjoyed a commercial release in Iran in March and had its festival debut in April in Cardiff, U.K. French-based international sales agent Dreamlab is now seeking festival berths and overseas distribution.

The film’s selection was made by TV Safina and the Union of Cinematographers of Tajikistan, the organization accredited for the task by AMPAS.
Dir. Behrouz Sebt Rasoul. Int’l sales: Dreamlab Films.

Switzerland: “Thunder”

Writer-director Carmen Jacquier’s feature debut is a coming-of-age film set in 1900 against a glorious mountainous landscape and the conservatism of rural Switzerland. It turns on a teenage girl (Lilith Grasmug) who is about to take her vows at the nunnery but is forced to return home when her elder sister dies in mysterious circumstances. The girl is forced to investigate her sister’s death and in doing so tests the constraints of family and the village community.

Produced by Flavia Zanon, “Thunder” (“Foudre”) world premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival before a successful run on the international festival circuit, picking up several awards in the process, including two Swiss Film Awards, an Emerging Swiss Talent Award at Zurich, a Special Jury Prize in Rome and a best director prize in Marrakech. 
Dir: Carmen Jacquier. Int’l sales: WTF Films.

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