Dennis Villeneuve's intense drama Incendies, based on the acclaimed stage play by Wajdi Mouawad, is Canada's official bid for Oscar consideration.
Telefilm Canada announced on Wednesday that Incendies is Canada's submission to the U.S. Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for consideration for its best foreign film category.
Quebec's Villeneuve, much honoured in Canada for his last feature Polytechnique, has recently won widespread praise for his adaptation of French Canadian playwright Mouawad's tale of twin siblings who journey to the Middle East after their mother's death and uncover shocking family secrets.
"One cannot help but be moved by the depth of the subject matter and the cinematic excellence of Incendies," Telefilm executive director Carolle Brabant said in a statement.
"Denis Villeneuve's track record makes him one of the leading filmmakers in Canada. We salute his talent and wish the film the international exposure it deserves."
Incendies has won acclaim at several influential international film festivals, including in Venice, Telluride and most recently Toronto, where it was named best Canadian feature film at the close of the Toronto International Film Festival on Sunday.
Released theatrically in Quebec last week, Incendies is set for English Canadian release later this year. It will also be released in the U.S., across a number of European countries and in the Middle East.
Past Canadian picks for Oscar foreign film consideration have included Xavier Dolan's J'ai tué ma mère (I Killed My Mother), Deepa Mehta's Water and Denys Arcand's Les Invasions barbares (The Barbarian Invasions ), which captured the coveted Oscar in 2003.
Each country is eligible to submit one film to the academy for consideration, with this year's deadline set for Oct. 1. They must follow several rules, including that each submission be a feature-length film produced outside the U.S. and with predominantly non-English dialogue.
The 83rd annual Academy Awards will take place on Feb. 27, 2011. The Oscar finalists are typically unveiled in an early morning announcement a month before the event.