Human trafficking pic crossed too many borders

The head of Luxembourg’s foreign-language Oscar committee has expressed “disappointment” at the Academy’s decision to reject its cosmopolitan, multilingual submission “Your Name Is Justine.”

“We’re not outraged or anything like that, but it would be fair to say we’re disappointed. It’s a good movie about an important topic, and we were hoping for a little more flexibility,” committee co-head Joy Hoffmann said.

AMPAS rejected Venezuela-born, Poland-based helmer Franco de Pena’s human-trafficking drama on the basis that not enough creative talent hailing from Luxembourg was involved in the film.

Under the foreign-language competish rules, a “submitting country must certify that creative talent of that country exercised artistic control of the film.”

“We knew it was a borderline entry, but the point is that without Luxembourg the film wouldn’t exist. Luxembourg put up about 75% of the budget,” Hoffmann said.

“Pena had developed the project in Germany with the help of a German grant but was unable to find any finance for the production there, which is why he came to us,” he added.

In the end, the English/German/Polish-language pic was a co-production of majority partner Luxembourg Hemisphere Films and Polish Opus Film. It was shot mainly in the duchy using a large number of local technicians.

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