Jordan joins foreign Oscar race

Country to submit Amin Matalqa's 'Captain'

The Kingdom of Jordan is joining the race for the foreign-language Oscar along with the Netherlands, Taiwan and the Philippines.

Meanwhile, Germany has narrowed the choice down to five pics.

An independent committee of industryites set up by Jordan’s Royal Film Commission chose helmer-scribe Amin Matalqa’s “Captain Abu Raed” as the country’s Oscar player.

Pic is about an airport janitor, mistaken for an airline pilot by local children, who weaves fantastical stories to offer them inspiration and hope.

The film, which won an audience award at Sundance, was financed by Jordan’s Paper & Pen Films and produced by Gigapix Studios’ prexy, David Pritchard, along with Matalqa and Laith Majali.

Helmer Dana Nechushtan’s “Dunya & Desie,” about inseparable 18-year-old girlfriends, one Dutch, one Moroccan, makes the cut for the Netherlands.

The screenplay is by Robert Alberdingk Thijm and is based on his popular TV series about the girls.

“Cape No. 7,” helmer Wei Te-sheng’s debut pic about the rise of a small-town rock band, is Taiwan’s choice. It opened the Taipei Film Festival in June, where it won the jury prize and an audience award. Pic was selected by the local Motion Picture Assn.

Another helming debut, Dante Nico Garcia’s romance “Ploning,” is the Philippines’ candidate for Oscar consideration. Pic, chosen by a committee of the Film Academy of the Philippines, played the Paris Cinema Festival in July.

Promotional org German Films is mulling an Oscar shortlist that includes Uli Edel’s terrorist drama “The Baader Meinhof Complex,” Dennis Gansel’s box office hit “The Wave,” Doris Doerrie’s “Cherry Blossoms,” Tom Schreiber’s “Dr. Aleman” and Andreas Dresen’s love story “Cloud 9.”

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences has invited 96 countries to submit films for foreign-language Oscar consideration. Deadline for submission is Oct. 1, the nominations will be announced Jan. 22, and the 81st awards ceremony takes place on Feb. 22.

(Patrick Frater in Hong Kong, Ed Meza in Berlin and Bobbie Whiteman in Hollywood contributed to this report.)

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