'Silent Army' may not be eligible

The Netherlands is reconsidering its submission for consideration in Oscar’s foreign-language category following warnings from producers that helmer Jean van de Velde’s “The Silent Army” may not be Dutch enough to be eligible.

The local industry is hypersensitive about disqualification after past problems with films such as “Bluebird” and “Paradise Now.”

National film promotion agency Holland Film announced the choice of “The Silent Army” on Tuesday.

But a group of producers including Fu Works, NL Film and Isabella Films have written to Holland Film pointing out that the multilingual pic may have too much English dialogue to be deemed eligible.

There may also be a problem since the version to be submitted to the Academy is not the one that went into general release in Holland. Originally screening as “Wit licht,” the film was substantially re-edited and renamed “The Silent Army” for the Cannes Film Festival.

According to sources, Holland Film has agreed to hold off formally submitting van de Velde’s film to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences while it assesses the situation.

Holland Film declined to comment.

Meanwhile, “Casanegra,” helmed by Nour-Eddine Lakhmari, has been chosen to represent Morocco in the foreign-language Oscar contest.

A dark tale of two small-time crooks trying to escape their dead-end lives in Casablanca, helmer’s sophomore pic has already won kudos at the Dubai and Taormina festivals. It also played in Montreal last month.

Pic was selected by a jury of industryites headed by producer Sarim Fassi-Fihri, the Moroccan Cinema Center announced Wednesday.

The closing date for submissions to the foreign-language category is Oct. 1. Nominations will be announced Feb. 2, and the Academy Awards take place March 7.

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