In a special edition of the Variety Streaming Room, film awards editor Clayton Davis moderated two panels that featured all 15 directors of the Academy Award shortlisted films for best international feature.
The first panel featured 8 filmmakers from around the globe, while the second panel featured an additional seven filmmakers. They discussed what inspired them to take on these projects and the diversity of themes covered in each one. Davis, who has extensively covered the Oscars landscape for the better part of 15 years, said this is undoubtedly the most diverse, quality-driven, and beautiful slate of 15 films he has ever seen the Oscars choose.
Romanian director Alexander Nanau wanted to understand how people can resist power and hold it accountable. His film “Collective” features a group of investigative journalists uncovering health care fraud in the wake of a deadly nightclub fire in Bucharest, Romania.
“In our film, these courageous women that were whistleblowers basically prove that a single woman can change a whole society if she is courageous enough,” Nanau said.
Representing Guatemala, “La Llorona” director Jayro Bustamante said he felt connected to the messages portrayed in these 15 international feature films.
“I think it’s very important to move up as an industry, to have a voice,” Bustamante said. “It’s very important to be careful about the message that we want to give to our [audience] because we have a power doing films, and it’s a very, very, very strong one.”
Thomas Vinterberg, the Danish filmmaker who directed “Another Round” starring Mads Mikkelsen, said that he’s often come to the conclusion that films are the most conservative art form. However, he said he was proved wrong after watching the movies from this shortlist.
“They were all so strong and rich that I was entirely carried away,” Vinterberg said. “It reminded me of what independent cinema and international cinema can be. They all spoke to me in all sorts of languages, which I forgot, because they spoke to my heart and to my mind. They all reminded me how lucky we are in the world of international cinema, that we have a support system that actually allows us to make these personal movies.”
Other filmmakers on the two panels included Kaouther Ben Hania (“The Man Who Sold His Skin”), Chung Mong-hong (“A Sun”), Andre Konchalovsky (“Dear Comrade”), Jasmila Žbanić (“Quo Vadis, Aida?”), Agnieszka Holland (“Charlatan”), Maite Alberdi (“The Mole Agent”), Philippe Lacôte France (“Night of the Kings”), Majid Majidi Persian (“Sun Children”), Filippo Meneghetti (“The Two of Us”), Maria Sødahl (“Hope”), Derek Tsang (“Better Days”) and Fernando Frías de la Parra (“I’m No Longer Here”).
Watch the full conversation above.