UPDATE: Entertainment One has scooped up US rights to Canada's official Oscar entry, "Gabrielle." The film, which is the second feature film by director Louise Archambault, centers on a Quebecois young woman (played by Gabrielle Marion-Rivard) with Williams syndrome, which slows cognitive abilities while often increasing gregariousness and heightening musical talent. Gabrielle is in the throes of first love with a man who sings in her choir, but his mother has concerns about the two, both disabled, being able to carry on a healthy relationship.
Entertainment One plans a theatrical release later this winter.
EARLIER: A record 76 countries have submitted films for Oscar consideration in the Foreign-Language Film category this year. Saudi Arabia and Moldova are first-time entrants, while Montenegro is submitting for the first time as an independent country.
A complete and alphabetical list of all 76 countries' selections is here.
Zeitgeist Films has acquired US rights to Romania's Oscar entry, "Child's Pose," directed by Calin Peter Netzer. The film, which centers on a mother willing to do anything when her son is charged with a deadly hit-and-run, won the Golden Bear at Berlin and had its North American premiere at TIFF. Zeitgeist is eyeing a February 19 opening at Film Forum, followed by a national roll-out.
Adopt Films has snapped up all US rights to Palestine's official Oscar entry, "Omar." It is filmmaker Hany Abu-Assad's second feature to be nominated by the country as its Oscar bid (he also helmed 2006's "Paradise Now"). Adopt is planning a late winter release for the film, which centers on a Palestinian man forced to work as a double agent for Israeli intelligence.
Iran has selected Asghar Farhadi's "The Past" as its official entry. Farhadi previously won the Best Foreign-Language Oscar for 2012's "A Separation." "The Past" finds Farhadi returning to themes of complex family relationships, centering on an Iranian man (Ali Mosaffa) who returns to France to divorce his wife (Berenice Bejo) but finds her living with her new boyfriend (Tahar Rahim). Meanwhile, a secret weighs on her.
Kazakhstan has gone with "The Old Man" as its bid for the little golden man. The film is loosely inspired by Ernest Hemingway's "The Old Man and the Sea" but set on earthen ocean the Asian steppe; its director, Yermek Tursunov, previously had a film, "Kelin,' make it to the 2010 semifinals in the Oscar race.
Peru has chosen "The Cleaner," directed by Adrian Saba. It focuses on a forensic cleaner who uncovers a hidden young boy as an epidemic sweeps through Lima.
Israel has selected "Bethlehem." The film, helmed by Yuval Adler, follows a young Palestinian man recruited as an informant by the Israeli secret service. The film was the recipient of Best Picture at the Ophir Awards, Israel's equivalent to the Oscars.
Spain has picked "15 Year Plus a Day" for its Oscar bid. The film, which won Best Screenplay at the Malaga Film Festival back in April, is a coming-of-age tale featuring Maribel Verdu ("Y Tu Mama Tambien") as the single divorced mother of a teenage boy. It is directed by Gracia Querejeta.
Thailand has gone with psycho-thriller "Countdown" for Foreign-Language submission. The film, set in New York though shot at a studio in Thailand, is the debut feature by director Nattawut "Baz" Poonpiriya, and centers on two teens seduced and then tormented by a drug dealer inside their apartment on New Year's Eve.
Italy has chosen the Palme d'Or nominated "The Great Beauty," directed by Paulo Sorrentino. It focuses on an atrophying Rome as seen through the eyes of an aging writer (prominent Italian actor Tony Servillo).