'Jirga,' Australia's Oscar Submission, Goes to Lightyear Entertainment


The film, written and directed by Benjamin Gilmour, will be released theatrically in the spring.

Indie distributor Lightyear Entertainment has acquired U.S. rights to Jirga, Australia’s submission for Oscar consideration in the foreign-language film category, from Visit Films.

Written and directed by Benjamin Gilmour (Son of a Lion), the pic stars Sam Smith as a former Australian soldier who returns to Afghanistan to seek redemption for killing a civilian man during the war. Shot on the fly in Afghanistan after Pakistan withdrew permission to film there, Jirga is the winner of the Cinefest Oz Film Prize.

Lightyear plans to release the film, produced by John Maynard, theatrically in the spring.   

“I was struck by the way the Afghan people are shown in a revealing light that’s quite different from what you see on the evening news,” Lightyear CEO Arnie Holland said Thursday in announcing the acquisition, “and the courage that the protagonist displays is extraordinary. When you add the stark beauty of the Afghan mountains and the stunning cinematography, it’s no wonder this was chosen as Australia’s submission to the Oscars.”

Two years ago, Lightyear distributed Tanna, Australia’s first Oscar nominee in the foreign-language film category.