It’s a gathering you won’t find anywhere else: The directors of seven of the nine films that the Academy has chosen for its best foreign language film Oscar shortlist — some of whom will soon become Oscar nominees — will join yours truly on the morning of Jan. 4 at the Palm Springs International Film Festival for a 90-minute panel about their lives and films, entitled, appropriately enough, “Oscar-Shortlisted Foreign Filmmakers in Conversation.”
Footage of the full conversation will appear on this blog shortly after it takes place.
The panelists will be Alberto Arvelo for Venezuela’s The Liberator (Cohen Media Group), Paula van der Oest for the Netherlands’ Accused (still seeking U.S. distribution), George Ovashvili for Georgia’s Corn Island (still seeking U.S. distribution), Abderrahmane Sissako for Mauritania’s Timbuktu (Cohen Media Group), Damian Szifron for Argentina’s Wild Tales (Sony Pictures Classics), Zaza Urushadze for Estonia’s Tangerines (still seeking U.S. distribution) and Andreay Zvyaginstev for Russia’s Leviathan (Sony Pictures Classics).
Pawel Pawlikowski, the director of Poland’s Ida (Music Box Films), and Ruben Ostlund, the director of Sweden’s Force Majeure (Magnolia), will not be able to attend — but their films, like those of the seven who will be in attendance, will be screened during the fest, which is well-known for two things above all else: (1) always having a great selection of foreign-language films, and (2) always attracting a great number of Academy members to its offerings, since many live or have second homes in the resort desert city.
From Jan. 9 through Jan. 11, specially invited committees of Academy members — 20 in Los Angeles, 10 in New York and, for the first time, 10 in London, too — will view three of the shortlisted films each day and then whittle the list down to five, which will be announced as Oscar nominees on Jan. 15.