'Gomorra,' 'Dream Weavers' top list of films

Italy, China, Hong Kong, the Palestinian territories, Iceland, Colombia, Venezuela and the Czech Republic have unveiled their films for consideration in the Oscars’ foreign-language category ahead of the Oct. 1 deadline.

Helmer Matteo Garrone’s Neapolitan crime drama “Gomorra” was unanimously backed by a 15-strong panel of Italian motion picture body Anica.

Based on journalist Roberto Saviano’s bestselling nonfiction book, “Gomorra” grabbed the jury prize at Cannes.

It was produced by Domenico Procacci for Fandango in collaboration with RAI Cinema.

China will enter helmer Gun Yu’s Olympic documentary “Dream Weavers — Beijing 2008,” marking the first time China has put a docu in for the category.

Pic tells the story of Olympic hopefuls in the run-up to the Games in August, the China Film Bureau said.

Hong Kong has selected the Donnie Yen starrer “Wa pei” (“Painted Skin”).

Selection was announced on the website of China Film Group and confirmed by Hong Kong’s Motion Picture Industry Assn.

The action-thriller about a vampire-like woman who eats the skin and hearts of her lovers was helmed by Gordon Chan (“The Medallion”).

“Salt of This Sea,” helmed by Annemarie Jacir, was chosen by the Palestinian Ministry of Culture.

Story follows a Brooklyn-born woman who travels to Israel and Palestine to claim her family’s spiritual and financial heritage.

Pic, which bowed in Cannes, was produced by Gaul’s JBA Prods. and Holland’s Augustus Film. Pyramid Intl. handles world sales.

Helmer Baltasar Kormakur’s “White Night Wedding” is Iceland’s entry.

The film, about the imminent wedding of a professor to a young girl, was written by Kormakur and Olafur Egilsson and produced by Kormakur and Agnes Johansen for Blueeyes Prods. Exec producer is Lilja Palmadottir.

International sales agent is Celluloid Dreams.

Colombia’s National Council for Arts and Culture has selected helmer Carlos Moreno’s “Perro come perro” (Dog Eat Dog).

Drug thriller was the first Colombian film to compete at Sundance. Moreno’s feature debut has been picked up by IFC in the U.S.Venezuela also has tapped a newcomer’s pic, Alejandro Bellame’s “El tinte de la fama” (The Taint of Fame).

Pic was selected by a committee of film industry professionals. Shot seven years ago but only completed recently, pic tracks a young girl who hopes to escape poverty by participating in a Marilyn Monroe look-alike contest.

The Czech Film and Television Academy has chosen “Karamazovs.”

Pic, written and helmed by Petr Zelenka, is set in a steel foundry in Poland, where a traveling thesp troupe is mounting a stage play of Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s classic novel “The Brothers Karamazov.”

The Academy has invited 96 countries to submit films for foreign-language Oscar consideration. Nominations will be announced Jan. 22, and the 81st awards ceremony takes place on Feb. 22.

(Michael Day in Milan, Clifford Coonan in Beijing, Marcus Lim in Hong Kong, Ian Mundell in Brussels, Gunnar Rehlin in Stockholm, Anna Marie de la Fuente in Hollywood and Will Tizard in Prague contributed to this report.)

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