Oscars: Switzerland Selects 'Eldorado' for Foreign-Language Category

Eldorado Still 1 - Publicity - H 2018
Courtesy of Majestic/Zero One Film/Peter Indergand

The refugee documentary from Markus Imhoof premiered this year in Berlin.

Swiss Films announced in Locarno on Friday that Markus Imhoof’s documentary Eldorado will be its official foreign-language entry for the 2019 Academy Awards.

The film, which premiered earlier this year out of competition at the Berlinale, draws parallels between the perilous journeys refugees take to reach Europe today and Imhoof’s encounter with Giovanna, a refugee child taken in by his family during World War II.

In Berlin, the film won an Amnesty International Film Prize special mention. It is playing in Locarno, and also made festival stops this year in Tel Aviv, Israel; Warsaw, Poland; and Hong Kong.

Eldorado was co-produced by Swiss Radio and Television, Thelma Film (Pierre-Alain Meier), zero one film (Thomas Kufus) and Bavarian Broadcasting. Multiple award winners Peter Scherer composed the soundtrack and Peter Indergand served as cinematographer.

The film has been screened already in Switzerland, Germany and Austria, and sold also in France, Hungary in Poland. Films Boutique in Berlin are handling world sales.

Imhoof was previously nominated for an Oscar in 1982 for his narrative film The Boot Is Full, which won the Silver Bear in Berlin in 1981. The film addresses the subject of refugees that sought shelter in Switzerland during World War II, and is considered a milestone in the country readdressing its role during the war.

His last film, More Than Honey, a documentary looking in-depth at honeybee colonies around the world, is considered one of Switzerland’s most successful docs to date.

The short list of foreign-language nominees will be announced in December, with official nominees being unveiled Jan. 22. The 91st Academy Awards take place Feb. 24.