Germany widens Oscar net

Language, nationality requirements loosened

BERLIN — Germany, proud of its strong recent run at the Oscars, is seeking submissions for this year’s foreign film competition and went out of its way to point out on Tuesday that pics do not have to be in the German language or even made entirely by Germans.

After twice winning the foreign film Academy Award in the past eight years, promotional org German Films has thrown out its net for submissions for Germany’s official entry to be selected in September. German Films, the national information and advisory center for the promotion of German pics worldwide, said on Tuesday submissions need not necessarily be in German or only made by Germans.

“The film doesn’t have to be made in the German language but rather can be in any other language or a combination of languages — as long as the dominant language is not English,” said Mariette Rissenbeek, in charge of press and festival communications at German Films. She added it was not a call for every foreign-language film to attempt to get a nomination through Germany, but rather an opening for films such as “Desert Flower” by German-American director Sherry Hormann to be nominated by Germany. The pic based on Waris Dirie’s bestseller.

Rissenbeek also pointed out that there are a number of films that are not predominantly in the German language, such as “Die Fremde” by Feo Aladag, made by directors and producers who live and work in Germany.

German Films also noted that another requirement is that two of the pics’ three key players — producer, director or screenplay writer — must be German or have a permanent residence in Germany.

German Films is responsible for the preparation, organization and implementation of the selection procedures. German Films itself is not represented in the selection committee.

Pics must be submitted by Sept. 1.

The academy rules state: “The recording of the original dialogue track as well as the completed picture must be predominantly in a language or languages other than English. Accurate English-language subtitles are required… The submitting country must certify that creative control of the motion picture was largely in the hands of citizens or residents of that country.”

Germany has had a good run at the Oscars in the past eight years. “The Lives of Others” won best foreign language film for 2006 and “Nowhere in Africa” won for 2002. “The Counterfeiters” in 2007 was in German and made with German coin but made by Austrian Stefan Ruzowitzky. Two other German films also earned noms in the past two years: “The Baader Meinhof Complex” for 2008 and “The White Ribbon” for 2009.

A further requirement for the German submissions is that it appeared in German cinemas between Oct. 1, 2009, and Sept. 30, 2010. A “significant portion” of the crew should also be from Germany, German Films said.

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