Spain's 'Paranoid Girls' to Get L.A. Screening to Qualify for Oscar Eligibility

The Spanish film looks to sidestep the Spanish Film Academy in hopes of getting a nomination for an Oscar directly.

Fashion photographer Pedro del Santo’s Spanish film Paranoid Girls has negotiated a week-long release at Los Angeles’ Laemmle Theaters to get a leg up on submitting the comedy for consideration in all categories for the Oscars.

While such a so-called "technical "release is not unusual for U.S. companies positioned in a David vs. Goliath battle hoping to garner some attention and satisfy the exhibition requirement prior to the nominations, what makes this particularly Don Quixote-esque is that it is Del Santo’s feature debut and looks to sidestep the Spanish Film Academy, which submitted the Basque-language drama Loreak as its bid for the foreign-language award at the Oscars.

“The reality is that the possibility [of securing the Spanish Academy’s backing] is minimal since there are approximately 100/150 films made each year in Spain and only one is chosen,” Del Santo explained. “After all the effort and hope that we invested in this marvelous adventure that is film, we didn’t want to conform to a ‘no’ so we contacted the Academy in Hollywood to ask if there was another way and to our surprise, they said yes.”

Del Santo’s production house El Gato Perso produced the comedy about the fashion world, written by Helena Montesinos and starring Barbara de Lema.

Beverly Hills-based House of Film is handling sales, with talks reportedly underway with AMC theaters for a wider commercial U.S. release in early 2016, while simultaneously looking for a distributor, the producer said.

The producer said he negotiated the release with Laemmle directly, choosing to screen in the Noho 7 from Nov. 13-19, paying the fee and sending the DCP copy and poster and press kit to be sent to the media. The theater invites the critics and the Academy members.

The Spanish Film Academy said it could not guess how many Spanish films have tried a similar technique in the past, but said that it is only responsible for nominating one film for the best foreign-language category. Even so, a spokesperson for the Academy pointed to Raul de la Fuente’s documentary short Minerita, which has already been preselected for the category as testament to the fact that there is no reason for a country to only have one film in competition at the ceremony.

The only known case of a technical release ever working for a Spanish film was Pedro Almodovar’s landmark double-hitter with the 2003 Academy Awards nominations, when he was shortlisted for the director and original screenplay categories. He won the screenplay statue.

“We are thrilled to send Paranoid Girls to the Oscars, although we know perfectly well that it is a little crazy, but frankly we don’t care,” Del Santo said.