In 2017, Watu Wote a Kenyan short film that depicted the 2015 Mandera bus terror attack, was nominated for an Oscar. Other feature films that have given the Oscars a shot include Supa Modo, Kati Kati, Nairobi Half Life, Subira, The Letter, Mission to Rescue and Terastorm (Animation), each submitted for a nomination in the Best International Feature Film category. For the 96th edition of the Oscars, set for March 10, 2024, category submissions for Best International Feature Film category submissions are open until September 13, 2023. Every year the Oscars, or The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, invites countries to submit an official entry of what those countries consider as their best film projects, and only one film is accepted from each country.
Entries for submission to the annual Academy Awards are done through the Oscars Selection Committee Kenya, which invites filmmakers to submit their feature films for consideration. This Selection Committee is constituted by The Kenya Film Commission– the body that is officially recognised by the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences to set up an Oscars Selection Committee from industry Associations and Guilds to make such submissions on behalf of Kenyan filmmakers.
Other than the Best International Feature Film, the Committee can also submit a Documentary and Animation to compete for Best Documentary and Best Animation Feature Awards.
It is the committee’s task to make a Call for Submissions from Kenyan filmmakers and thereafter view and select a film project, be it a Feature Film, Documentary or Animation that meets the set-out Academy rules and regulations and submit the same to the Academy.
For a film to be considered ‘International’, hence Best International Feature Film category, it has to be a feature-length motion picture (over 40 minutes) produced outside the United States of America and its territories with a predominantly (more than 50 per cent) non-English dialogue track. Animated and documentary feature films are also permitted. The Academy uses the following guidelines to determine a film’s eligibility in this category:
- Citizens or permanent residents of the submitting country should be represented in at least two of these categories:
- Citizens or permanent residents of the submitting country should be represented in the majority in these categories:
- Art Director or Production Designer (whichever title designates the senior designer)
- Costume Designer
- Music Composer
- Sound Mixer
- Citizens or permanent residents of the submitting country should be significantly represented among the major roles in the cast.
In addition, the country-selected film must have been first released in the country of origin no earlier than December 1, 2022, and no later than October 31, 2023, and be first publicly exhibited for at least seven consecutive days in a commercial motion picture theatre for the profit of the producer and exhibitor.
Various other technical requirements are taken into consideration by the Committee and all these details are available on the Kenya Film Commission’s website: https://kenyafilmcommission.go.ke/wp-content/uploads/2023/07/96th-Oscars-Call-For-Submissions-for-Best-International-Feature-Film-Award-2023..pdf
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Edited by @peterndoria