South Asian filmmakers react as ‘The Long Goodbye’, ‘Flee’, ‘Writing with Fire’ and ‘Lunana: A Yak in the Classroom get through the first round of Oscar voting…
STAR Riz Ahmed and director Aneil Karia have exclusively told www.asianculturevulture.com that they have both been very touched by the Oscars’ nomination for their short film, ‘The Long Goodbye’.
Ahmed told acv: “Can’t explain how much it means to have shortlisted ‘The Long Goodbye’ for the Oscars. Thank you to the Academy voters and everyone who has supported this film.
“Aneil and I made this from the heart, it’s amazing to see how it’s connected with other people. I hope it continues to spread, and that it’s a wake-up call and that the world gets to see what a phenomenal filmmaker Aneil Karia is.”
Karia also told acv: ‘‘The Long Goodbye’ getting shortlisted for the Oscars means the world to me. I’m so grateful to the Academy voters for giving this film – that came from such a personal and urgent place – this kind of recognition. Thank You.”
The short film, announced in a list along with 14 other short films by the Academy on Tuesday (December 21), now goes through to the next round and is in contention for an Oscar next year.
Their 11-minute film is both an exhilerating and shocking ride through a dystopian world where a happy Asian family gathering in London can be destroyed in seconds by masked men with a violently racist and murderous agenda. The filmmaking pair have discussed how much the film articulates an uneasiness felt by many, who feel the world is against them for simply being who they are.
Shot last December, Karia talked to acv about its making and his career to date in an article published here.
There was double cheer for Ahmed as another one of his films, ‘Flee’, which he executively produced, is both on the International Feature Film shortlist and also the Documentary category.
The film from Denmark tells the remarkable story of Amin Nawabi (a pseudonym), who flees Afghanistan when the Taliban first take power in 1989 and then his subsequent years in Europe before finding love and emigrating to the US to continue his academic career.
Ahmed is also voicing the English language version – the original is in multiplicity of languages and is virtually one long narration as told by Nawabi to his friend, and radio producer-turned filmmaker and director Jonas Poher Rasmussen. He first befriended the real Amin as a teenager on a train in Denmark and the story covers their long friendship too.
Earlier, Ahmed thanked the Academy for “highlighting these powerful & timely stories” and mentioned his own production company, Left Handed Films as being proud to have been associated with both. On Twitter the star – who has been promoting his current Amazon Prime film ‘Encounter’ and his two young co-stars, Lucian-River Chauhan, and Aditya Geddada – added that both filmmakers Karia and Rasmussen were helping to change cinema through their vision.
A film from the tiny kingdom state of Bhutan has also made it onto the Oscars shortlist – ‘Lunana: A Yak in the Classroom’.
Writer-director Pawo Choyning Dorji is the toast of Bhutan, a Himalayan kingdom which is close to Nepal and surrounded by Sikkim, and the Indian states of Arunchal Pradesh, and Meghalaya and Assam to the South.
Dorji’s film, ‘Lunana: A Yak in the Classroom’ was announced as one of the films that will now go through to the final shortlist of six films in the International Feature Film category of the Academy Awards.
It’s about a teacher who is sent to an even more remote outpost to teach in a village school in Bhutan and is gifted a yak to help him settle into village life.
Dorji told his 20,000-plus followers on Instagram yesterday (December 22) that he was humbled and surprised.
“I had shared with friends that I had absolutely no expectations, but just making the shortlist would inspire a generation of Bhutanese story tellers.”
He said he didn’t know where he would go from this point and thanked his crew and the Bhutanese government.
The film was released in 2019 and enjoyed a successful festival run and won awards but due to a technicality and a lapsed official entry committee to submit the film, it didn’t go through. Dorji now joins fellow Bhutanese writer-director Khyentse Norbu on the international filmmaking map. Norbu first broke through with the film, ‘The Cup’ in which young Tibetan refugee monks in India obtain a tv to watch the 1998 World Cup.
Dorji’s film goes up against films such as Belgium’s ‘Playground’, Iranian auteur Asghar Farahadi’s ‘A Hero’ and Japanese director Ryusuke Hagamguchi’s ‘Drive My Car’. (See the full list in this category below).
First time feature documentary makers Rintu Thomas and Sushmit Ghosh are celebrating reaching the Oscars list in the documentary category.
Their film follows the work of India’s first Dalit women news collective, Khabar Lahariya.
On the film’s Instagram feed, it reacted with joy and said it took a village to make such a film and it “is deeply meaningful in more ways than one”.
Further voting by Academy members takes place between January 27-February 1 2022; with the final shortlists of six announced on February 8. The actual Academy Awards are set to take place on March 27 at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles.
The full lists for the categories announced on December 21 are here https://www.oscars.org/oscars/94th-oscars-shortlists
Pawo Chonying Dorji Instagram
Riz Ahmed tweets
Writing with Fire Instagram