Two Irish co-produced features films, Viva and 11 Minutes, are among 40 of the 80 official submissions in the Academy’s Best Foreign Language Film category that will play at the Palm Springs International Film Festival from January 1st to 11th.

viva-image-2The Paddy Breathnach directed Viva is an Irish/Cuban co-production and is Ireland’s official selection for the Foreign Language Oscar. The film was primarily filmed in Cuba with some Irish shooting, is the story of Jesus, a young man growing up in Havana, who works as a hair and make-up artist for drag acts. His secret desire is to perform on stage, but he must choose between pursuing his dream and reconnecting with his father, who is newly released from prison.

Héctor Medina stars in the lead, alongside writer Mark O’ Halloran (Adam and Paul), as well as Jorge Perugorría (Strawberries and Chocolate) and Luis Alberto García (Che). Cathal Watters (One Million Dubliners) is Director of Photography on the film, while Production Designer Paki Smith reunites with Breathnach, having previously worked together on Man About Dog. Rebecca O’Flanagan and Robert Walpole produce for Treasure Entertainment, with funding from the Irish Film Board, Windmill Lane Pictures, RTÉ, and Treasure Entertainment. Nelson Navarro Navarro from Island Films in Cuba co-produced.

11-minutes_imageJerzy’s Skolimowski’s Irish/Polish co-production 11 Minutes is Poland’s official entry to be considered for Best Foreign Language film at this year’s Oscars. The film stars Richard Dormer (Good Vibrations, ’71, Game of Thrones) in the lead role of an American film director in this suspenseful drama which revolves around the lives and loves of a diverse group of people during the course of the same 11 minute chain of events.

11 Minutes is directed by Jerzy Skolimowski, produced by Ewa Piaskowska of Skopia Film and co-produced by Andrew Lowe and Ed Guiney of Element Pictures with backing by the Irish Film Board. It will be released in Ireland on December 4th.

Other heavy hitters that will play at the festival include Hungary’s Son of Saul, France’s Mustang, Iceland’s Rams, Sweden’s A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence, Argentina’s The Clan, Jordan’s Theeb, and Taiwan’s The Assassin.

The Palm Springs International Film Festival (PSIFF) is one of the largest film festivals in North America, welcoming 135,000 attendees last year for its lineup of new and celebrated international features and documentaries.  The Festival is also known for its annual Black Tie Awards Gala, honoring the best achievements of the filmic year by a celebrated list of talents who, in recent years, have included Ben Affleck, Javier Bardem, Cate Blanchett, Sandra Bullock, Bradley Cooper, George Clooney, Daniel Day-Lewis, Leonardo DiCaprio, Clint Eastwood, Tom Hanks, Matthew McConaughey, Julianne Moore Brad Pitt, Eddie Redmayne, Julia Roberts, David O. Russell, Meryl Streep, and Reese Witherspoon.

Full selection:

Bota – (Albania) Directors: Iris Elezi, Thomas Logoreci
The Clan – (Argentina) Director: Pablo Trapero
The Brand New Testament – (Belgium) Director: Jaco Van Dormael
Our Everyday Life – (Bosnia and Herzegovina) Director: Ines Tanovi?
The Second Mother – (Brazil) Director: Anna Muylaert
The Judgement – (Bulgaria) Director: Stephan Komandarev
Felix and Meira – (Canada) Director: Maxime Giroux
The Club – (Chile) Director: Pablo Larraín
Embrace of the Serpent – (Colombia) Director: Ciro Guerra
The High Sun – (Croatia) Director: Dalibor Matanic
Home Care – (Czech Republic) Director: Director: Slávek Horák
A War – (Denmark) Director: Tobias Lindholm
1944 – (Estonia) Director: Elmo Nüganen
Lamb – (Ethiopia) Director: Yared Zeleke
The Fencer – (Finland) Director: Klaus Härö
Mustang – (France) Director: Deniz Gamze Erguven
Labyrinth of Lies – (Germany) Director: Giulio Ricciarelli
Ixcanul – (Guatemala) Director: Jayro Bustamante
Son of Saul – (Hungary) Director: László Nemes
Rams – (Iceland) Director: Grimur Hákonarson
Viva – (Ireland) Director: Paddy Breathnach
Baba Joon – (Israel) Director: Yuval Delshad
100 Yen Love – (Japan) Director: Masaharu Take
Theeb – (Jordan) Director: Naji Abu Nowar
Babai – (Kosovo) Director: Visar Morina
Heavenly Nomadic – (Kyrgyzstan) Director: Mirlan Abdykalykov
600 Miles – (Mexico) Director: Gabriel Ripstein
The Paradise Suite – (Netherlands) Director: Joost van Ginkel
The Wave – (Norway) Director: Roar Uthaug
Moor – (Pakistan) Director: Jami Mahmood
11 Minutes – (Poland) Director: Jerzy Skolimowski
Arabian Nights: Volume 2 – The Desolate One – (Portugal) Director: Miguel Gomes
Aferim! – (Romania) Director: Radu Jude
Enclave – (Serbia) Director: Goran Radovanovi?
Flowers – (Spain) Directors: Jon Garaño, Jose Mari Goenaga
A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence – (Sweden) Director: Roy Andersson
Iraqi Odyssey – (Switzerland) Director: Samir
The Assassin – (Taiwan) Director: Hou Hsiao-hsien
How to Win at Checkers (Every Time) – (Thailand) Director: Josh Kim
Sivas – (Turkey) Director: Kaan Müjdeci

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