Xavier Dolan's killer debut is Canada's Oscar pick

J'ai tué ma mere (I Killed my Mother), the debut film by Quebec's Xavier Dolan that earned kudos at Cannes, has been chosen as Canada's entry for the Academy Awards.

J'ai tué ma mère (I Killed my Mother), the debut film by Quebec's Xavier Dolan that earned kudos at Cannes, has been chosen as Canada's entry for the Academy Awards.

Telefilm Canada announced Tuesday that J'ai tué ma mere would be submitted for nomination as best foreign language film at the 82nd Academy Awards to be held March 7, 2010.

Dolan, 20, earned the rare distinction of a premiere at the Directors' Fortnight, the prestigious French film series that runs parallel to the Cannes Film Festival, and was greeted with a standing ovation for his darkly comic film.

"I'm excited — I'm a bit surprised," said the Montrealer who had initially hesitated about producing the film because of its intensely personal nature.

The autobiographical film depicts a single mother and her son as a troubled couple, so deeply connected that neither can leave their abusive relationship.

It won the Art Cinema Award from an international jury of independent film programmers; the SACD prize for best French-language film; and the Regards jeunes prize, which is given to an outstanding first-time director by film fans.

Made with $150,000 of Dolan's personal savings, and $200,000 from Quebec's film financing body SODEC, the film was written, directed and performed by the young Quebec filmmaker.

"It is hard to believe," said Dolan.

"I've seen films that are going to be submitted from France, or from Germany … and I'm having a hard time [picturing] myself beside them … but I'm very honoured and flattered."

Each country is allowed to submit just one foreign-language film for the Academy's consideration. A shortlist of nominated films is announced Feb. 2, 2010.

The film was chosen as Canada's Oscar choice by a committee of 24 film industry professionals.

Other films in the running include The White Ribbon from Germany and A Prophet from France.