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Afghanistan protests regarding disqualification of Utopia film by Oscars

By Khaama Press - Wed Nov 18 2015, 2:36 pm

The Filmmakers Union of Afghanistan has formally protested regarding the disqualification of an Afghan film ‘Utopia’ from Oscars foreign-language race.

The protest was reportedly lodged by Jawanshir Haidary, the head of the Filmmakers Union of Afghanistan by sending a letter to the Academy.

‘Utopia’ was disqualified after the academy found that the film was containing too much English and was therefore not qualifying for the Oscar foreign-language race.

The academy announced earlier this week that the film Babel-like drama involving three intersecting stories, failed to meet the requirement of rule 13, section A of the Academy’s “Special Rules for the Foreign Language Film Award.”

It states that A foreign language film is… a predominantly non-English dialogue track.”

In the meantime, Mr. Haidary, in his letter to the Academy has said Utopia is “predominantly” foreign language.

“Utopia has forty-eight minutes of Dari and Hindi language and thirty-seven minutes of English speaking scenes in an 85 minute film excluding credits,” Haidary submits, and “therefore in our eyes is predominantly in [a] foreign language,” according to letter cited in a report by The Hollywood Reporter.

A statement by the director of the film Hssan Nazer has also been included in the letter. “For Utopia authenticity was important so when our main character travels to the UK she would of course speak English,” he said.

Nazer also added “when communicating in India the common language would be English.”

“We ask that you please consider our points and reconsider. We do not have another film of this quality to represent Afghanistan at the Academy Awards 2016,” Haidary said.

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