‘Jerusalema,’ ‘Loss’ in Oscar race

Lithuania, South Africa submit entries

Helmer Ralph Ziman’s “Jerusalema” is South Africa’s submission for consideration in the foreign film category at the Oscars, while helmer Maris Martinsons’ debut feature, “Loss,” will represent Lithuania.

“Jerusalema,” like South Africa’s previous winner, “Tsotsi,” is set in a world of urban crime and violence. Loosely based on real events, the film follows the story of Lucky Kunene (Rapulana Seiphemo), who becomes an underworld real estate king as he takes over buildings in Johannesburg’s notorious downtown Hillbrow area.

“Jerusalema” premiered at the Berlin Film Festival. Produced by Tendeka Matatu, it is being distributed through United Intl. Pictures in partnership with Metro FM and the Gauteng Film Commission.

“Loss” follows the lives of six people brought together after a tragic accident.

In January, pic set the local opening-weekend record, taking in e55,000 ($80,000) over three days.

Released by Forum Cinemas, “Loss” is co-produced by ART&A, Martinsons’ ARTeta and the Lithuanian Film Studios from a script by Martinsons. The film had its North American premiere at the Montreal World Film Festival.

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

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