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Entertainment behind the scenes

Going some place? Foreign films hop on Oscar’s train

March 7, 2010


Foreign filmmakers may not pander to Oscar like some of their American counterparts. But early Saturday morning in front of a packed audience that had even some of the actors from the films scrambling to find a seat, the directors of this year’s five nominees talked about what the Oscars can do to gather the momentum to put enough bottoms on seats to gaze at their subtitled works. The first ever foreign language film nomination for Peru, “The Milk of Sorrow,” is still looking for a U.S. distributor, but director Claudia Llosa said the nomination was helping to inject film investment in that country.

Respect at Oscar they get. But American box office? Well, that’s always a slightly more difficult task. Even in regards to Oscar, all the filmmakers said they could not allow themselves to even possibly consider an Academy Award when they began to make their films.  As Oscar frontrunner Michael Haneke of “The White Ribbon,” which has swept many of the awards in the past year, put it, “You don’t make films to win prizes, you make films to communicate.”

And clearly from the adoring audience they did. Watch the video above of Israeli director Yaron Shani, whose film “Ajami” took 11 odd years to make from conception, talking outside the screening on Saturday morning about the reception he has received in Hollywood and how the film is still touching people back in his conflicted homeplace .

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