Samuel Goldwyn Head on India’s Oscar selection controversy, ‘RRR’ snub

US distributor Samuel Goldwyn Films President Peter Goldwyn has weighed the backlash over India’s selection of its competitor for this year’s best international film race at the Oscars, calling the nominee ‘The Last Film Show’, which it will release in North America, ‘a really strong contender.”

Directed by Pan Nalin (“Samsara”, “Valley of Flowers”), the Gujarati-language film tells the story of a nine-year-old boy who pursues his dreams at the cinema. It debuted at the Tribeca Festival in 2021 and has since played festivals in Palms Springs, Seattle and Mill Valley. Last Film Show will hit stores on October 14, 2022 in Gujarat, India, giving it much-needed theatrical release in its home territory.

The Film Federation of India’s selection was announced last week and immediately sparked a backlash, led by shouts that popular blockbuster musical ‘RRR’ was snubbed. Director SS Rajamouli’s action film has done huge business around the world, with some arguing that it would offer Oscar voters a more accessible experience.

Variance Films, the US distributor of “RRR,” still plans to launch an Oscar campaign asking Academy voters to consider the film in other categories.

Last Film Show has also drawn its own backlash, with online claims suggesting it’s too closely based on Giuseppe Tornatore’s 1988 Italian classic Cinema Paradiso.

BN Tiwari, President of the Federation of Western India Cine Employees, has even claimed that Last Film Show was produced abroad and should not be considered an Indian work. The Indian Siddharth Roy Kapur is named as the producer. The film is partially financed by France’s Orange Studios and will be represented in international markets.

“We believe ‘Last Film Show’ speaks to the heart and soul of cinema, which will appeal not only to moviegoers in the United States but also to Academy members,” said SGF President Peter Goldwyn. “We think the film is a really strong contender this year and we’re excited to bring it to American audiences. We are also looking to bring our expertise to bear on Oscars campaigns for the release of this title.”

“Orange Studio was the first to believe in Pan Nalin’s beautiful film ‘Last Film Show.’ We bought the film at script level and came on board to handle the worldwide sales of the film. The film has been sold in several territories and we look forward to its release in Italy on November 24th and in Japan on January 20th (2023). However, the key releases will be October 14th in India and later in the year with our distributor Samuel Goldwyn Films in the US, coinciding with the Oscars campaign,” said Kristina Zimmerman, CEO of Orange Studio (“The Father,” “The artist”).

“Our years of experience tell us that ‘The Last Film Show’ has a great chance of winning the hearts of moviegoers around the world, and Oscar winners in particular. And we plan to devote our full attention to running a successful Oscars campaign in coordination with our partners at Samuel Goldwyn Films for ‘Last Film Show,'” she said.

Variance said “RRR” will be submitted for Best Picture, Director (SS Rajamouli), Original Screenplay (Rajamouli and V. Vijayendra Prasad), Lead Actor (for both NT Rama Rao Jr and Ram Charan), Supporting Actor (Ajay Devgn). , Supporting Actress (Alia Bhatt), Original Song (“Naatu Naatu”), Original Score (MM Keeravaani), Camera, Production Design, Film Editing, Costume Design, Make-up and Hairstyling, Sound and Visual Effects. Samuel Goldwyn Head on India’s Oscar selection controversy, ‘RRR’ snub

Charles Jones

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