Brazil has selected Kleber Mendonça Filho’s documentary Pictures of Ghosts as its entry for Best International Feature Film at the 96th Academy Awards.
Mixing archive and contemporary footage, the deeply personal work revisits the director’s hometown of Recife through the cinemas he once frequented.
The film world premiered as a Special Screening at Cannes in May and had its North American premiere September 9 in Toronto, before heading to New York.
Grasshopper Films acquired U.S. rights this summer. Paris-based Urban sales handles international sales.
The Brazilian Cinema Academy selected the film on Tuesday from a shortlist which also included Guto Parente’s A Strange Path, Sergio de Carvalho’s Alien Nights, Eduardo Albergaria’s Nosso Sonho, Carolina Markowicz’s Toll and Claudio Borrelli’s Vultures.
The selection was made by a 23-member committee, chaired by distributor and exhibitor Ilda Santiago.
Mendonça Filho thanked the academy for selecting the film in a media post, re-enacting his taking the call on the phone as he stroked his cat.
“Thank you for all the good vibes we have received,” he wrote.
The director previously represented Brazil in 2012 with Neighbouring Sounds (Som ao Redor).
“I’ll replicate Emilie’s quotes: ‘“’Happy and honored for the nomination, 10 years after Som ao Redor,’” he wrote, referring to long-term producer Emilie Lesclaux.
“The film is enjoying a lot of international exposure and is at the end of its third release in Brazil and Portugal, with screenings still full,” he added. “We will work to ensure it is seen as much as possible.”
Pictures of Ghosts had its Brazilian premiere on August 14 in Recife and was released in the rest of the country on August 24 by Vitrine Filmes.