Pic Academy spells out rules for foreign entries

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences has sought to clarify and codify its eligibility rules for foreign-language film entries.

In response to this year’s flap over Uruguay entry “A Place in the World,” which was disqualified when it was ruled that the film was essentially an Argentine production, the Academy feels its new guidelines will make clearer submission for competing countries.

AMPAS revealed this week that the new guidelines were approved June 22 at the Academy’s foreign-language executive committee meeting. According to AMPAS, most guidelines don’t change but are now spelled out on paper.

“The guidelines didn’t exist on paper as regulations,” said the Academy’s executive director, Bruce Davis. “They existed as the way the committee did its business.”

Davis said the committee has “made it more plain as to what they want … We’re trying to be a little more clear. The rules have not been changed.”

The entry form sent out by the Academy says: “Only those with full ‘producer’ credit (as distinct from executive producer, associate producer, etc.) are entitled to represent the picture for purposes of the eligibility requirement. Individuals with producer credit whose contributions were essentially financial will not be regarded as satisfying the requirement.”

In fact, a form has been added asking those submitting films to be more specific about who did what on a picture.

“It’s a procedure that changed, not really a rule,” said Davis. “The rules are almost exactly the same. They are procedural clarifications.”

In other words, the burden of proof for credits is now on the producer instead of the Academy committee.

Shortly after the Oscar nominations were announced in February, AMPAS disqualified the nominated “A Place in the World” after an investigation determined that not enough Uruguayan artists had participated in the production. The film’s director, Adolfo Aristarain, claimed it was a co-production of the two countries.

“A Place in the World” was submitted last fall to Argentina’s Oscar selection committee as a possible contender, but lost its Oscar bid from Argentina — by one vote — to “The Dark Side of the Heart.”

Aristarain then took the film to Uruguay’s minister of education and culture, requesting that the film become an entry of that country, which had no other entries.

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