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Oscars Race: Switzerland Submits ‘A Piece of Sky’ for Best International Feature Film

A Piece of Sky
Credit: Armin Dierolf/Hugofilm

Switzerland has chosen Berlin competition title  A Piece of Sky” as its International Feature Film contender.

Honored with a special mention at Berlin, “A Piece of Sky” marks director Michael Koch’s  follow-up to his 2016 debut “Marija,” which marked him out as a talent-to-track. Set in a remote Alpine farming community, “A Piece of Sky” follows a taciturn farmhand, Marco (Simon Wisler) and a single mother, Anna (Michèle Brand), who build a life together in the Alps. When Marco falls ill with a brain tumor everything changes, bu. Anna stands by Marco through thick and thin. 

In his review, Variety’s Guy Lodge hailed “A Piece of Sky” as an impressive, austere Alpine tragedy.

“Stunning image-making fills out the stark storytelling in Swiss director Michael Koch’s potent, stoically moving second feature,” Lodge added. 

“A Piece of Sky” is produced by Hugofilm. New Europe Film Sales handles world sales. 

“Michael Koch’s ‘A Piece of Sky’ is marked by powerful images that are able to maintain the tension between the apparent simplicity and the great weight of the drama,” said the Swiss jury that selected the film.

“In this way, emotions develop their resonance and attain depth. Carried by strong amateur actors, the film surrenders to the rhythm of nature and regards its protagonists as part of the rugged mountain world. Their love not only stands up to the adverse circumstances, but also dares to question the inevitability of death,” added the jury, led by Swiss writer-director Stéphanie Chuat.

The 95th Oscar awards ceremony will take place on March 12, 2023.  

Ireland Submits ‘The Quiet Girl’

The Irish Film and Television Academy (IFTA) has chosen Colm Bairéad’s Irish-Language film “The Quiet Girl” (“An Cailín Ciúin”) as Ireland’s entry for the Oscars’ best international feature film category at the 95th Academy Awards.

Set in rural Ireland in 1981, the coming-of-age film follows Cáit (Catherine Clinch) as she is sent from her overcrowded, dysfunctional household to live with distant relatives for the summer. It recently became the first Irish-language film to win the Irish Academy Award for best film and received seven awards including director, actress, cinematography, editing, production design and original score.

The film was selected by IFTA’s 2023 Irish Selection Committee, which includes producer and Emmy-nominated actor Roma Downey (“Ben-Hur”), Oscar-nominated actor John C. Reilly (“Chicago”), producer and Paramount TV executive VP of international strategy David Flynn (“Bodkin”), Oscar-nominated director Jim Sheridan (“My Left Foot”), director Aisling Walsh (“Maudie”) and actor Fionnula Flanagan (“The Others”). The committee was chaired by Academy CEO, Áine Moriarty.

Moriarty said: “This is such a unique and beautiful film that captures your heart from the outset, and leaves you profoundly moved. How proud we are to submit this outstanding Irish language film into the Oscar competition, to compete with the best in the world, as we know this story will resonate with international audiences, beyond the borders of language, and no doubt with American Academy members too.”

Bairéad and producer Cleona Ní Chrualaoi of Inscéal added: “We are honored beyond words that “An Cailín Ciúin”/”The Quiet Girl” has been selected to represent Ireland. Our heartfelt thanks to IFTA and its selection committee. We have always believed in the idea that an Irish-language film could stand shoulder to shoulder with the best of world cinema and we feel so proud to be representing our country and our language in this way. It has been an extraordinary privilege adapting Claire Keegan’s ‘Foster’ to the big screen and we can’t wait to introduce our film to more and more members of the Academy as ‘The Quiet Girl’ continues its roll-out on the international stage.”

“The Quiet Girl” was produced by Ní Chrualaoí as part of the Cine4 funding scheme for Irish-language film, in partnership with Screen Ireland, TG4, and the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland, and the film is also in receipt of the Irish Government’s Section 481 tax incentive.

The international film contenders will next be shortlisted to 15 finalists on Dec. 21. These will then be ultimately shortlisted to the final five Oscar nominees in the category on Jan. 24, 2023. The 95th Academy Awards ceremony is currently scheduled to take place on March 12, 2023 at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood.

World sales for “The Quiet Girl” are being handled by Bankside Films.