Switzerland has selected stop-motion animated feature My Life as a Courgette (Ma vie de Courgette) from director Claude Barras to represent the country in the Foreign Language Film race for the 89th Academy Awards.
The film is produced by Geneva’s Rita Productions (under producers Max Karli and Pauline Gygax) in co-production with Blue Spirit Prod. in Paris, Gebeka Films in Lyon and Monte Carlo’s KNM.
“Ma vie de Courgette is an original film guided by luminous artistic direction,” the Swiss Oscar Jury said in its official statement. “It’s story is packed with emotion, marked by resilience and a hopeful vision of human society. Director Claude Barras and screenwriter Céline Sciamma succeeded in giving children a voice: While addressing children at eye level they still speak to all generations.”
My Life as a Courgette centers on nine-year-old Icare, called Courgette (“zucchini”), who makes his way to an orphanage after his mother dies, and is eventually taken in by a policeman. The film is based on Gilles Paris’ novel Autobiography of a Courgette, adapted by French screenwriter Céline Sciamma (Girlhood). Barras has previously directed the award-winning short animated films Chambre 69, Banquise and La genie de la boite de raviolis.
The first feature-length animation for Swiss director Barras, Courgette had its world premiere in May in the Directors’ Fortnight program at Cannes. In June, the film took both the Best Feature Cristal and Audience Award at the Annecy International Animation Film Festival. The Swiss-French co-production’s latest stop is the International Film Festival in Melbourne.
Bigscreen distribution rights have been sold to over 20 European territories as well as in the Middle East and Asia by global rights holder Indie Sales — U.K., U.S. and Canadian deals are under negotiation. Courgette will roll out in theaters in Switzerland next month followed by France and Belgium in October, and Germany and Italy in December.
Oscar nominations will be announced January 24, 2017. The 89th Academy Awards ceremony will be held February 26.