Italy’s ‘World’ joins Oscar race

Buy, Orlando and Freschi topline

ROME — Giuseppe Piccioni’s “Not of This World,” an intimate drama about a novice nun, an abandoned baby and the unhappy loner that may be the child’s father, has been chosen to represent Italy in the best foreign-language film race of this year’s Academy Awards.

The first feature produced by former exhibitor Lionello Cerri, the film is a Lumiere & Co. production in association with Italian pubcaster RAI. It stars Margherita Buy, Silvio Orlando and Carolina Freschi.

International sales agent Intra Films recently closed a deal with Los Angeles-based distrib Entertech, headed by John Daly, covering all rights for the U.S. and English-speaking Canada. While a February release originally was planned in the U.S., Intra chief Paola Corvino says limited runs will be organized before the end of the year to maximize on the Oscar bid.

The fifth feature by Piccioni, “World” was a critical hit in Italy this spring and has picked up a string of prizes both at home and abroad.

At the AFI Film Festival, which wrapped Friday in Los Angeles, it nabbed both the Grand Jury Prize and the audience award for best feature.

Italy’s entry won the 1998 foreign-language film Academy Award for Roberto Benigni’s “Life Is Beautiful.”