Oscars: Ukraine Enters 'Paradjanov' in Foreign Language Race

The film is centered on the biography of famous director Sergei Paradjanov.

MOSCOW – Ukraine has nominated a biopic on Soviet-era director Sergei Paradjanov for the Academy Award in the foreign language film category.

Paradjanov, directed by first-time feature directors Olena Fetisova and Serge Avedikian, who also stars as the renowned director, was made as a co-production between Ukraine, Georgia and Armenia – the three countries in which Paradjanov worked – and France.

The €2 million biopic had its world premiere as part of the Karlovy Vary Film Festival's program East of West last July. It was later screened at the Odessa International Film Festival and collected the Golden Duke award for the best Ukrainian film. It had a general Ukrainian release on Sept. 12.

"I believe that Paradjanov is more than a worthy Ukrainian entry in the Oscar race," Denis Rzhavsky, a member of the Ukrainian Committee, said in a statement. "However, what made me glad was not the selection of that film, but the quality and quantity of its competitors. It is already clear that in 2014, we will have premieres that will change audiences' perceptions of the Ukrainian cinema."

Paradjanov, an ethnic Armenian born and raised in Georgia, came to prominence with his 1965 historic drama Tini zabutykh predkiv (Shadows of the Forgotten Ancestors), which collected the Critics Grand Prize and the Special Jury Award at the Mar del Plata Film Festival and was released in more than a dozen countries.

However, despite the international success, Paradjanov was soon banned from filmmaking by Soviet ideologues and later thrown into prison on what were widely believed to be fabricated charges.

After being released, he made three more features, Ambavi Suramis tsikhitsa (The Legend of the Suram Fortress) and Ashug-Karibi (The Hoary Legends of the Caucasus), and died in 1990.