Art and Experience: As the fall festivals loom, countries around the world are lining up their potential foreign-language entries. Switzerland has already submitted women’s suffrage dramedy “The Divine Order” by Petra Volpe (“Heidi”) to vie for an Oscar at the 90th Academy Awards. Last years 85 countries submitted Oscar-qualifying films.
Set in the ’70s, the film about a Swiss young wife and mother who fights the patriarchy and starts campaigning for women’s suffrage and sexual liberation won the 2017 Swiss Film Award for Best Script, Best Actress (Marie Leuenberger), and Best Supporting Actress (Rachel Braunschweig). The feature went on to win three awards at Tribeca, including the International Narrative Film Audience, Nora Ephron Prize for writer-director Volpe, and Best Actress awards. This week, the film also garnered two more two prizes at Michael Moore’s Traverse City Film Festival.
TrustNordisk from Denmark has world rights to the “The Divine Order,” which is a hit in Switzerland; screen rights have already sold to over 15 countries. Kino Lorber and Zeitgeist Films plan an October stateside release.
By winning shorts festival awards, five Swiss short films have also qualified for Oscar contention as Animated Short Film, Live Action Short Film, or Documentary Short Subject, respectively: “Whatever the Weather,” by Remo Scherrer; “In a Nutshell,” by Fabio Friedli; “Facing Mecca,” by Jan-Eric Mack; “En the Boca,” by Matteo Gariglio; as well as “Moriom” by Francesca Scalisi and Mark Olexa.
Every country chooses their submissions differently; promotion agency Swiss Films conducts the selection and submission process for the Swiss Oscar entry on behalf of the Swiss Federal Office of Culture. In December, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will announce the shortlist of foreign-language contenders, with the final Oscar nominations revealed on January 23, 2018.
The Oscars ceremony will take place in Los Angeles on March 4, 2018.