Deadline is reporting that Paddy Breathnach’s Spanish language drama Viva has been selected as Ireland’s official entry for Best Foreign Language Film at the 88th Academy Awards. The film is currently playing at the Toronto International Film Festival, where it has being drawing a lot of positive notices.

Viva, which 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 , Pictures, RTÉ, and Treasure Entertainment.

The Irish entry for Best Foreign Language Film is selected by a panel of the Irish and Film Television Academy, after submissions are made during the year. The other contender this year was An Klondike, which is currently screening in its television format on TG4. Last year Tom Collins’ An Bronntanas was selected, but failed to make the final 5.

[quote title=”Aine Moriarty – IFTA, CEO”]The Irish Academy is delighted that this wonderful film from Paddy Breathnach and (screenwriter) Mark O’Halloran will represent Ireland for consideration in the Oscar Foreign Language category — as it reflects the diverse creativity and vision of this Irish team in bringing such a tender Cuban story to the screen that is both intriguing and visually captivating.[/quote]

[quote title=”Paddy Breathnach – Director”]We loved every minute of our adventure on this film which took us from Ireland to Cuba and back again. As well as our wonderful Irish team, we had the pleasure of working with a great Cuban cast and crew and I feel this nomination recognizes this incredible international collaboration.[/quote]

On January 14th 2016, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) will announce which five films have been nominated from all of the international entries to go forward in the final line-up to compete for the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film.

The 88th Academy Awards will take place in Hollywood on February 28th, 2016.

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