Gaetano Adinolfi, president of pan-European funder Eurimages, has fired off a letter to Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences president Arthur Hiller stating that he is “surprised and upset” by the decision to disqualify “Blue” as the entry from Poland for the upcoming Academy Awards.
“The number of nationalities of the talents involved in film production is rapidly escalating and will, I believe, make your rules for determining ‘country of origin’ obsolete in a short time,” Adinolfi said in his missive. He added that the 5-year-old Eurimages has given financial support to 234 co-productions, each of which involved at least three countries.
In addition to film funding, the organization has programs supporting distribution and exhibition. Seven submissions in the 1993 foreign-language category — including France’s “Germinal” and Italy’s “The Great Pumpkin”– were backed by Eurimages. “Squadron,” which Poland substituted for “Blue,” also had organization money.
Adinolfi, reached by phone in Strasbourg, said he sent the letter in the spirit of cooperation and to shed some light on the realities of European co-production.
“Oscars are very important and we appreciate the Academy’s efforts for foreign-language films historically. But something is going wrong and we want to avoid situations like ‘Blue’ from happening in the future,” he said.
Central to his concern involving the disqualification is that Poland deemed it a suitable representative and cleared its submission with the French and Swiss co-producers.
Adinolfi said he finds it a dangerous practice for the Academy to be determining nationality when the countries involved have agreed to an appropriate representation. He added that the whole concept of submitting by country may no longer be appropriate or reflective of international filmmaking.
Hiller confirmed receipt of the letter and said Adinolfi’s points are being given serious consideration.
“The foreign-language category has had a troublesome history,” admitted Hiller. “I’ve given the committee my thoughts on how things might be changed and I believe a new set of regulations, which are more flexible and will better represent the best (candidates), can be in place next year.”