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Canada Selects TIFF Winner ‘Antigone’ For Oscar Race

Patrick Hipes

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Antigone, the drama from Québécois writer-director Sophie Deraspe that just won the Best Canadian Feature Film prize for its world premiere at the Toronto Film Festival, has been selected to represent Canada in the 2020 Oscar International Feature Film race.

The pic is hoping to become the ninth Canadian film to be nominated for an Oscar in the category formerly known as the Best Foreign Language Film. The country’s latest nominee was Kim Nguyen’s Rebelle in 2013; the only Canadian film to win the Oscar in the category is Denys Arcand’s Les Invasions barbares in 2004.

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This year’s shortlist in the category is due out in mid-December, with nominations for the 92nd Oscars being announced January 13.

Deraspe’s fifth feature film. which she wrote, directed and served as cinematographer, is a timely retelling of the Greek tragedy. It centers on Antigone (Nahéma Ricci), who in helping her brother escape from prison defies everyone from the police, the judiciary and the penal system to the father of her friend Haemon. Brilliant and, until now, blameless, the teenager feels the grip of power tightening around her. But she rejects the law of man and follows her own sense of justice, dictated by love and loyalty.

Nour Belkhiria, Rachida Oussaada, Antoine Desrochers, Rawad El-Zein, Paul Doucet, Hakim Brahimi, Jean-Sébastien Courchesne and Benoit Gouin co-star.

“We are extremely proud of the calibre and quality of the 16 films submitted to the Selection Committee this year, and equally proud to say that nine of them were directed or co-directed by women,” said Christa Dickenson, executive director of Telefilm Canada, which coordinates and chairs the pan-Canadian Selection Committee. “Our priority now is to celebrate and encourage the team behind Antigone as they begin the exciting race for the Best International Feature Film Oscar. This is a unique opportunity to showcase Canadian talent on the international stage, and we are delighted to be providing support as a frontline partner in this great adventure.”

Marc Daigle and Isabelle Couture produced the pic, which is being distributed in Canada by Maison 4:3 with a theatrical release date there set for November 6. WaZabi Films is repping international sales.

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