Filmmaker Ava DuVernay (Selma) has acquired Bantú Mama, the Dominican Republic’s entry for the Best International Feature Film category at the 2023 Academy Awards aka the Oscars.
According to Deadline, DuVernay’s company, Array Releasing, will distribute the drama directed by Ivan Herrera in the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Australia, and New Zealand. Bantú Mama will hit select theaters and stream on Netflix starting November 17, 2022.
Bantú Mama tells the story of a French woman of African descent who escapes arrest in the Dominican Republic and makes her way to a dangerous district in Santo Domingo where she becomes a maternal figure to a group of children who give her sanctuary. It is one of the 15 films submitted by a Latin American country for consideration at the 95th annual Academy Awards.
October 3 was the deadline for countries to submit a film to the Academy. A shortlist of 15 qualifying films will be announced on December 21, 2022, with Oscar nominations revealed on January 24, 2023. The 95th Academy Awards will be held on March 12, 2023.
Here is a quick look at the other 14 films vying for an International Feature Film Oscar.
Argentina – Argentina, 1985
Director Santiago Mitre tells the true story of the prosecutors behind the 1985 Trial of the Juntas, which went after the leaders of Argentina’s most bloody dictatorship.
Bolivia – Utama
Told in Quechua and Spanish, director Alejandro Loayza Grisi follows an elderly couple in the Bolivian highlands who are experiencing an extremely long drought.
Brazil – Mars One
Writer and director Gabriel Martins tells the story of a lower middle-class family who reinvents themselves during a series of profound changes in their lives. The film is in Portuguese.
Chile – Blanquita
Director Fernando Guzzoni’s drama follows a girl named Blanca, who becomes a feminist martyr when the foster home she lives in becomes embroiled in a sex scandal.
Colombia – The Kings of the World
Directed and co-written by Laura Mora Ortega, the drama follows five marginalized young men seeking their place in the world.
Costa Rica – Domingo and the Mist
In this drama by writer and director Ariel Escalante, the ghost of the wife of one of the residents comes for a visit when a developer attempts to remove the people of a town to build a new highway.
Ecuador – Lo Invisible
A woman who is unwilling to play the role of a perfect housewife begins to spiral into madness when she returns home from a psychiatric clinic after a bout of postpartum depression in this film by Javier Andrade.
Guatemala – The Silence of the Mole
Documentarian Anaïs Taracena tells the story of Elías Barahona, AKA The Mole, a journalist who infiltrated the Guatemalan government in the 1970s.
Mexico – Bardo, False Chronicle of a Handful of Truths
Academy Award-winning filmmaker Alejandro G. Iñárritu follows a renowned Mexican journalist who returns to his homeland where he is pushed to an “existential limit.”
Panama – Birthday Boy
In director Arturo Montenegro’s drama/thriller, a man celebrates his 45th birthday with his friends. The mood changes, however, when he tells them that he plans to commit suicide before the party is over.
Paraguay – EAMI
Director Paz Encina follows a young girl named Eami, who wanders through the rainforest after her village is destroyed.
Peru – Moon Heart
Director Aldo Salvini tells a fantastical story about an old, homeless woman whose life is changed when a “mechanical angel” makes a visit.
Uruguay – The Employer and the Employee
In director Manolo Nieto’s thriller, a young man who manages his father’s farm develops a bond with a teenager he hires to drive a tractor until tragedy strikes.
Venezuela – The Box
In director Lorenzo Vigas’ drama, a young Mexican teenager travels to collect the remains of his father. While there, he meets a man who looks like his father and begins to doubt if he really is dead.