Spain, Mexico make Oscar pics

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Juan Antonio Bayona's directorial debut, "The Orphanage," will represent Spain's hopes for a foreign-language Oscar nomination, while Carlos Reygadas' "Silent Light" will carry Mexico's banner, it was revealed Thursday.

New Line recently bought U.S. remake rights to the chilling tale, which is produced by Guillermo del Toro, Spain's Telecinco Cinema and Rodar y Rodar, with the participation of Warner Bros. Prods. Spain. Picturehouse is handling U.S. distribution for the film.

"The Orphanage" beat out Emilio Martinez Lazaro's "13 Roses" and Jose Luis Garci's "Luz de Domingo" for the backing of Spain's Film Academy.

"The Orphanage," which ran in Critics Week at May's Festival de Cannes, is scheduled to open Sitges' fantasy film festival and unspool for Mexico's Morelia Film Festival.

"Silent Light," selected by the Mexican Film Academy, is a love story that takes place in an isolated Mennonite community in northern Mexico. The Mexico-France-Netherlands co-production won the jury prize this year at Cannes.

Elsewhere in Latin America, Brazil's Ministry of Culture has submitted Cao Hamburger dramedy "The Year My Parents Went on Vacation" as its foreign-language Oscar contender.

"The Year" centers on a boy who is left alone in a Jewish neighborhood during the era of Brazil's military dictatorship. Gullane Filmes, Miravista, Globo Filmes and Caos Prudocoes produced.

Pamela Rolfe reported from San Sebastian, Spain; John Hecht reported from Mexico City.
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