LATAM Oscar Entries Shine including Critically Acclaimed Films from Costa Rica & Mexico

LATAM submissions for the Academy Award's Best International Feature include critically acclaimed contenders

LATAM foreign film Oscars

Photos: Tres Tigres Films/Limerencia Films/ Magic Films

With the 2024 Academy Awards nominations around the corner, January 23 to be exact, submissions for the Best International Feature are making the rounds and among them, Latin American talent shines. From action to drama to documentary, all kinds of film genres are explored by this year’s contenders highlighting the complex perspectives and stories Latin America cinema taps into. Latin American films are no stranger to the Academy Awards with Sebastian Mitre’s Argentina, 1985 being up for the Best International Feature Film just last year and other notable films such as Pan’s Labyrinth (2006) from Mexico, The Milk of Sorrow (2009) from Peru, and Wild Tales (2014) from Argentina having been previously nominated. Chilean director Sebastian Leilo’s A Fantastic Woman (2017) and Mexican director Alfonso Cuaron’s Roma (2018) went on to win the award, receiving the honor for Latin American films back to back and becoming the third and fourth films from LATAM to win the coveted award.The films submitted this year, 88 in total, give some hope that Latin American representation might just make its way to the 2024 Oscars.

A few submissions from LATAM for foreign film this year have made quite the impression through their rounds at film festivals: Picture of Ghosts directed by Kleber Mendonça Filho (Brazil), and The Shadow of the Sun directed by Miguel Angel Ferrer (Venezuela) have received multiple accolades. Filho’s film—which is his second to be submitted as an entry following his film Neighboring Sounds (2013)—won Best Documentary at the Lima Film Festival. Ferrer’s film, which premiered at the Venezuelan Film Festival, won every award it was nominated for including Best Fiction Feature and Best Actor.

Among the films this year, there are three with Latina directors: Costa Rica’s I Have Electric Dreams directed by Valentina Maurel, Mexico’s Tótem directed by Lila Aviles from Mexico, and Panama’s Tito, Margot & Me directed by Mercedes Arias and Delfina Vidal.

I Have Electric Dreams is about a young girl working to repair her relationship with her father. The film, which is also Valentina Maurel’s directorial debut, has received several awards during its rounds at film festivals. Maurel herself has won the Best Director Award at the Locarno Film Festival (LFF) in Switzerland (where they debuted) as well as winning awards for directing at the Lima Film Festival. The lead actors, Reinaldo Amien Gutiérrez and Daniela Marín Navarro, have also been praised for their performances winning Best Actor and Best Actress at LFF.

Tótem centers on seven-year-old girl Sol on the day of her father’s birthday party as circumstances complicate family dynamics. The film has been awarded a Special Jury Prize for Directing from the Montclair Film Festival and was also listed as one of the Top 5 International Films by the National Board of Review. Lastly, Mercedes Arias and Delfina Vidal’s film is a documentary focusing on the love story between Panamanian diplomat Roberto “Tito” Arias and ballerina Margot Fonteyn. Both Arias—the politician’s first cousin once removed—and Vidal had both worked on documentary film Box 25 (2015) a previous Panama entry to the Academy Awards.

Other films submitted this year include Family Album directed by Guillermo Rocamora (Uruguay), The Settlers directed by Felipe Galvez (Chile), A Male by Fabian Hernandez (Colombia), The Last Runway 2, Commando Yaguarete directed by Armando Aquino and Mauricio Rial (Paraguay), The Erection of Toribio Bardelli directed by Adrian Saba (Peru), The Delinquents directed by Rodrigo Moreno (Argentina) and The Visitor directed by Martin Boulocq (Bolivia).

In this Article

Academy Awards best international film brazil Costa Rica film I Have Electric Dreams latin america Mexico Oscars The Shadow of the Sun totem
More on this topic