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Switzerland Sends Claude Barras’ ‘My Life as a Courgette’ to Foreign-Language Oscar Race

PARIS — Switzerland has chosen Claude Barras’ Cannes Directors Fortnight player “My Life as a Courgette” as its foreign-language Oscar candidate at the 89th Academy Awards.

Produced by Geneva-based Rita Productions, “My Life as a Courgette” marks the feature debut of Swiss director Claude Barras.

Repped by Paris-based Indie Sales, the critically-acclaimed stop-motion toonpic scooped the Cristal prize for best feature and audience award at Annecy, before playing at Directors’ Fortnight in Cannes.

Based on Gilles Paris’s “Autobiography Of A Courgette” and penned by Céline Sciamma (“Girlhood”), “Ma vie de Courgette” tells the tale of a nine-year-old boy nicknamed Courgette who has to find his way in an orphanage after his mother’s death and is eventually adopted by a policeman.

“‘Ma vie de Courgette’ is an original film guided by luminous artistic direction. It’s story is packed with emotion, marked by resilience and a hopeful vision of human society. Director Claude Barras and screenwriter Céline Sciamma succeeded in giving children a voice: While adressing children at eye level they still speak to all generations,” said the Swiss Oscar jury about the selection.

“My Life as a Courgette” was co-produced by France’s Blue Spirit Productions, Gébéka Films and Monaco-based KNM.

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On top of being a critical success, “My Life as a Courgette” has been sold to most of Europe, the Middle East and Asia by Indie Sales. Deals with the UK and the U.S. are now in negotiation.

The theatrical roll-out of “My Life as a Courgette” kicks off in Switzerland in September, followed by France, Belgium in October, as well as Germany and Italy in December.

Oscar nominations will be unveiled on Jan. 24. The award ceremony will be held in Los Angeles on February 26.

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