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It’s ‘Checkmate’ for foreign-lingo Oscar race

Cabral's kidnap drama to rep Dominican Republic

Jose Maria Cabral’s “Jaque Mate” (Checkmate) will rep the Dominican Republic in the foreign language film category of the 85th Academy Awards.

Produced by Antena Latina Films, “Jaque Mate” tracks events that follow when a TV host receives a call from his family’s kidnappers while he’s on air.

Pic was selected out of 10 contenders, a milestone in itself for the local film industry, which has produced an average of two to three pics a year for the past 28 years.

A new film law passed in 2011 has dramatically spurred local production.

“The uptick in film production can only contribute to a diversity of genres and better quality films,” said film commissioner Ellis Perez.

This is only the fourth pic that the Caribbean nation has submitted to the Oscars.

Last year’s entry, Leticia Tonos’ “La hija natural” (Love Child), was initially disqualified because the country’s film org failed to submit a list of the selection committee members to the Academy before the Aug. 1 deadline. A last minute appeal allowed its submission.

Dominican Writers Guild prexy Luis Arambilet led a selection committee comprised of various guilds and film pros including the Dominican Assn. of Film Professionals.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will announce the five nominees for best foreign film on Jan. 10. The 85th Academy Awards ceremony takes place Feb. 24.

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