Italy picks “Fire at Sea” as its foreign-language Oscar entry

Gianfranco Rosi's documentary about migrants on the island of Lampedusa won the Golden Bear at the Berlinale and will open in U.S. cinemas this fall.
September 27, 2016

Italy has chosen Gianfranco Rosi’s documentary Fire At Sea as its submission for the foreign-language Oscar.

The doc is about migrants landing on the Sicilian island of Lampedusa, which has become the first point of entry for hundreds of thousands of people from Africa and the Middle East attempting to make their ways across Europe.

It won four prizes at the Berlinale, including the Golden Bear for Best Film, and was picked up by distributor Kino Lorber for a fall theatrical release that begins on Oct. 21. It will also screen at the New York Film Festival, which starts on Friday (Sept. 30).

The Italian selection committee picked the film from seven titles. The committee was led by director Paolo Sorrentino, who won the foreign-language Oscar in 2014 for The Great Beauty. The win marked Italy’s 11th win in the category.

Fire At Sea was produced by 21Uno Film and Stemal Entertainment, the Istituto Luce-Cinecittà and Rai Cinema. Les Films D’Ici and Arte France Cinema co-produced.

The shortlist of nine films nominated for Best Foreign Language Film will be announced on January 17 and the five nominees will be unveiled on January 24, along with the rest of the nominations. The Oscar ceremony takes place on Feb. 26.

The doc is not the only film that could potentially land a foreign-language nod next year. Ukraine has submitted Roman Bondarchuk’s documentary Ukrainian Sheriffs as its official contender.

About The Author
Daniele Alcinii is a news reporter at realscreen, the leading international publisher of non-fiction film and television industry news and content. He joins the rs team with journalism experience following a stint out west with Sun Media in Edmonton's Capital Region, and communications work in Melbourne, Australia and Toronto. You can follow him on Twitter at @danielealcinii.