“Buladó,” the second feature of director Eché Janga, who also penned the screenplay alongside Esther Duysker, has been selected to represent the Netherlands in the International Feature Film category of the Academy Awards. Picture Tree International will launch its international sales push at the virtual AFM.

“Buladó” opened the Netherlands Film Festival in September and was awarded best film, the Golden Calf, at the National Film Awards. It is on release in the Netherlands with Gusto Entertainment, and has generated more than 30,000 theatrical admissions despite the heavy cinema restrictions. The film will launch on Netflix early next year in the Benelux.

“Buladó” is an emotional family tale set in the countryside of Curaçao and rooted in the oral histories of local slaves.

The story, laced with magic realism, follows headstrong 11-year-old girl Kenza who is determined to find her own path into adulthood, as she mourns her mom. She is torn between her agnostic father Ouira and her spiritual grandfather Weljo.

Kenza lives with her father Ouira and grandfather Weljo on a car wrecking yard in the countryside of Curaçao. The two men are opposites that don’t particularly attract: Ouira is a determined and rational police officer, while Weljo identifies with the original inhabitants and spirituality of the island.

As Weljo wishes to prepare for his passing to the world of spirits, the relationship between Ouira and Weljo starts to escalate and Kenza searches for her own path in-between the two extremes. The down-to-earth and avoidant mentality of Ouira no longer offers her all that she needs and slowly she opens up to the more mystical and comforting traditions of her grandfather.

Eché’s debut feature “Helium” (2014) world premiered at the Rotterdam Film Festival and won two National Film Awards.

The film is produced by Koji Nelissen and Derk-Jan Warrink of Amsterdam-based Keplerfilm, whose producing credits include “The Lobster,” “Bullhead,” “Blind” and “Monos.”

It is co-produced by Dutch broadcaster NTR with support of the Netherlands Film Fund, the Netherlands Film Production Incentive and CoBo Fund.