Watch the Trailer for Mauritania's First-Ever Oscar Submission, 'Timbuktu' (Exclusive)

The Hollywood Reporter is pleased to exclusively premiere the first trailer for this year's best foreign-language film Oscar submission from Mauritania, Abderrahmane Sissako's Timbuktu.

The heartbreaking French-language drama, which premiered in competition at May's Cannes Film Festival before making its way to this month's New York Film Festival, centers on the 2012 takeover of the titular town in north Mali by Al Qaeda militants. Mauritanian-born Sissako was raised in Timbuktu, and the namesake project is the second of his five solo directing efforts to be selected for the most prestigious of film fests. There, its North American distribution rights were bought by the Cohen Media Group, which will release it in the U.S. in early 2015.

Read more 'Timbuktu': Cannes Review 

Its selection for the Oscar competition — making it one of nine (an unusually high number) films that screened at Cannes this year and were then entered by their home countryhas reportedly delighted Mauritanians, including the president of the small West African nation.

Timbuktu joins an extremely competitive field of foreign-language Oscar contenders.

Twitter: @ScottFeinberg