Submissions to compete for the Best Foreign Language Film Academy Award have started to trickle in slowly, as the October 1st deadline approaches. The latest country to announce their chosen film is Palestine, with what could seem like an odd choice in comparison to their previous candidates.
"The Wanted 18" by Palestinian filmmaker Amer Shomali and Canadian Paul Cowan is a documentary that uses stop-motion animation, interviews and reenactments to tell the unbelievable story of how 18 cows, which were used for independent milk production on a Palestinian collective farm, were considered "a threat to the national security of the sate of Israel" during the First Palestinian Intifada.
The film was involved in an international controversy when it was selected to screen at New York’s Human Rights Film Festival back in June. Shomali was scheduled to attend the film’s U.S. premiere but was unable to do so because he couldn’t obtain a U.S. visa. According to Shomali, he was prevented by the Israeli army from traveling between Ramallah and Jerusalem, where the U.S. consulate is located, on the grounds that he is also considered "a threat to the security of Israel."
Kino Lorber has acquired U.S. rights for "The Wanted 18"
Palestine has been nominated twice in the category, both times with films by Hany Abu-Assad: "Paradise Now" in 2006 and "Omar" in 2014