Brazil Sends 'The Clown' to Foreign Oscar Race

Selton Mello’s second film sold 1.4 million tickets in Brazil.

BUENOS AIRES – Selton Mello’s The Clown was selected Thursday by the Brazilian Ministry of Culture to be the country’s entry in the 2013 Foreign Oscar nominations race.

Co-produced between Bananeira Filmes, Mondo Cane Filmes,and Globo, Mello’s second film as a director -- after 2008 December -- portrays a clown (played by Mello himself) who quits the circus and tries to make a living on the road in the 1970s.

The film was picked out of a pre-selection of 16 films by an official commission of film officials, critics, and filmmakers. The jury members were Ana Paula Dourado Santana, Ana Luiza Azevedo, Andre Sturm, Carlos Eduardo Rodrigues, Flávio Tambellini, George Torquato Firmeza, José Geraldo Couto and Lauro Escorel.

“I believe the most innovative aspect of choosing The Clown lies in its potential," said Secretary of Audiovisuals Dourado Santana. “This selection must be seen as an award itself. I hope this will be a positive thing for a film, which is already a success," she added. The film sold 1.4 million tickets in Brazil, a hit for local standards.

"The Clown is a film that has a delicate feel, and the fact that it has been chosen as the Brazilian representative fills me with joy," said Mello.

Brazil’s last presence in the foreign Oscar nominations was in 1999 with Walter Salles’ melodrama Central Station, which also got a best actress nom for star Fernanda Montenegro.