Telefilm Canada has announced Louise Archambault’s feature film Gabrielle as Canada's pick for a possible nomination in the Best Foreign Language Film category at next year's Oscar awards.
The Quebec director's second film had its North American premiere at this month's Toronto International Film Festival.
Gabrielle is produced by Luc Déry and Kim McCraw from micro_scope production company. The film was funded through the Telefilm’s Canada Feature Film Fund.
"This announcement makes my heart sing," Archambault said after the announcement in Montreal. "It's really a nice recognition to represent Canada with my film and I'd like to share this with everyone who inspired me to make this film."
'Gabrielle has won over audiences internationally, and there’s no question that the Academy members will succumb to its charms as well.' - Carolle Brabant, Telefilm Canada executive director
A drama about a developmentally challenged woman’s desire for sexual freedom and independence, the film was awarded an audience prize at the Locarno International Film Festival in August.
The film stars Gabrielle Marion-Rivard, who has Williams syndrome. One of the producers surprised her with the news on Tuesday and said she screamed for joy.
Telefilm chairs the pan-Canadian Oscar selection committee, which includes 22 voting members from government agencies and national film industry associations.
“Gabrielle has won over audiences internationally, and there’s no question that the Academy members will succumb to its charms as well," said Carolle Brabant, Telefilm's executive director.
The film's selection also marks the third time in four years that micro_scope has represented Canada in the Oscar race.
The company worked on Denis Villeneuve’s Incendies nominated in the foreign-language film category at the 83rd annual awards, and Philippe Falardeau’s Monsieur Lazhar for the same category the following year.
Dery said receiving an Oscar nomination is "very difficult" because "there are films submitted by 71 countries and they're all good films.
"The competition is huge ... but we think we have a good film for this process," he said. "The film is super charming, it touches people, there's a real subject matter but it's far from being a sure bet."
This year, Kim Nguyen's child-soldier drama, Rebelle (War Witch), was in the race for Oscar glory but lost out to Amour.
Canada's last win in the category was in 2004 for Denys Arcand's The Barbarian Invasions.
The nominations for the 86th Academy Awards will be announced on January 16, 2014.
The Oscars will be hosted by Ellen DeGeneres on March 2, 2014.