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Ireland puts forward entry for Best Foreign Film at Oscars

Juanita Wilson’s As If I Am Not There swept the boards at this year’s IFTAs – and now has the Academy Awards in its sights.

Image: IFTA

THE FIRST FEATURE film of Irish director Juanita Wilson has been announced as our entry to the Foreign Language category at the Academy Awards.

As If I Am Not There is set in the Balkans and the dialogue is mostly Serbo-Croat. The movie won Best Film, Best Director and Best Script at the IFTAs earlier this year and has since won several top awards at international film festivals. The Irish Film and Television Academy said in a statement today that the film was “moving and beautiful” and would constitute a “very strong submission” for Ireland.

IFTA also pointed out that while the film is set in the Balkans and shot primarily in Serbo-Croat, it is developed and produced by Octagon Films in Bray, Co Wicklow. The association said:

The creative control and talent behind the film is Irish (including writer/director Juanita Wilson, producer James Flynn, DP Tim Fleming, editor Nathan Nugent etc.

Film Ireland explains the selection process that put As If I’m Not There on their site today.

The film is based on the true story from Croatian journalist’s Slavenka Drakulic’s book of the same name and centres around atrocities perpetrated during the Balkan War in the 1990s. Natasa Petrovic stars as a young woman from Sarajevo who goes to teach in a rural village but finds herself captured by soldiers who force her to “entertain” them in a makeshift prison camp.

Director Wilson (pictured below) was nominated for an Oscar last year for her short film The Door, which featured in’s Friday at the Movies series last week.

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Image: Photocall Ireland

Watch Juanita Wilson’s Oscar-nominated short film The Door on here>

See more films at’s Friday at the Movies series>

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