Oscars: Colombia Picks 'Mateo' as Foreign-Language Submission
No local film has ever earned an Oscar nomination
BUENOS AIRES – Maria Gamboa's Mateo will be Colombia's bet for a nomination in the foreign-language category at the 2015 Oscars. The news was announced on Wednesday by the Colombian Film Academy on its Facebook account and confirmed by the film's press agency LBV.
A winner of screenplay and first feature awards at the Miami Film Festival this year, Mateo was one of the three finalists to represent Colombia at the Oscars, together with Oscar Ruiz Navia's Los hongos — winner of a special jury prize in Locarno this year — and Ruben Mendoza's Dust on the Tongue, which topped Colombia's main film event, the Cartagena Film Festival. The 378 members of the academy participated in the voting of the final slate, preselected by its board of directors.
“Both the crew and the people from Magdalena Medio who participated in this project, we all feel honored and happy to be able to represent Colombia," Gamboa said in a statement. "We’re thrilled that there’s a recognition to Mateo’s story of peace and reconciliation, which offers a more human and truthful vision, so different from the way this crucial topic is usually presented."
A Colombia/France co-production starring Carlos Hernandez and Felipe Botero, Mateo tells the story of a 16-year-old boy who faces a dilemma about the direction his life will take when his corrupt uncle asks him to infiltrate a local Barrancabermeja theater group to uncover its members' political activities.
No local films have ever been picked for an Oscar nomination. But the recently reborn Colombian film industry has been expanding in number and size ever since the passing of the first film law in 2003 which poured funds into film production, the new Bogota Audiovisual Market and new co-production and shooting incentives.