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There were some disgruntled indie film reps when Film Independent’s Spirit Award nominations were announced on Nov. 29, and five nominations, including one for best film, went to The Artist.
Both Shame (which was actually shot in New York) and the English-language We Need to Talk About Kevin were classified as foreign fare, or what the Spirit Awards call “international films.” While Shame did get an international film nom, Kevin was left out. But The Artist was welcomed into the American-focused competition even though director/writer Michel Hazanavicius and the movie’s two leads are all French.
But it wasn’t just a case of Harvey Weinstein’s campaign skills, which are never to be underestimated. According to Spirit Award rules, The Artist qualified under the rule that says if a film is set in the United States and partially and fully financed by a company whose principal office is in the United States, then it’s considered an American production. In this case, the movie was shot in Los Angeles and partially funded by Warner France, whose parent company is located right here in Burbank. Shame and Kevin, which both had U.K. financing and U.K. directors, couldn’t make the same claims.
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