Spain is Bidding for a Catalan Film as Its Oscars Hopeful

Summer, 1993 | © © Inicia Films / Avalon P.C
Summer, 1993 | © © Inicia Films / Avalon P.C
Spain has chosen a Catalan-language film as its official entry into the 2018 Academy Awards, a controversial move amid a backdrop of political unrest in Catalonia. Find out more here.

Estiu 1993 in Catalan, Verano 1993 in Spanish, or Summer 1993 in English – is the film that will be Spain’s official entry in the upcoming Oscars category of Best Foreign Language Film.

The coming-of-age tale recounts the young life of first-time director and Barcelona native Carla Simón, a tender portrait of how children cope with loss. It follows six-year-old Frida, who goes to live with her uncle and his family after her parents die of AIDS.

The move to opt for a Catalan-langauge film has been dubbed controversial in some quarters, but for Simón, language should not be an issue.

“It should be normal for Spain to put through a film in any of the languages we speak, although the political atmosphere overshadows the selection,” she told Spanish daily El País, referring to the ongoing political unrest in the north-eastern region of Catalonia. The Catalan regional government has called an independence referendum for October 1, which the central Spanish government has ruled as illegal.

Summer 1993 film poster © Inicia Films / Avalon P.C

It is not the first film shot in a majority regional language that Spain has sent to the Oscars; it put forward the Basque-language Loreak (Flowers) in 2016 and the Catalan film Pa negre (Black Bread) in 2012. Summer 1993 will face stiff competition from 90 rivals from around the world. The films will be shortlisted to nine in early January before the final five nominations will be announced on January 23.

Summer 1993 has already received critical acclaim, winning the Best First Feature award at the Berlinale Film Festival in February. Spain has previously enjoyed success, winning the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar four times, most recently with the Alejandro Amenábar film The Sea Inside starring Javier Bardem in 2004.

The Oscars will be held on March 4, 2018.

The last film to win Best Foreign Film Oscar for Spain was The Sea Inside, starring Javier Bardem © Kathy Hutchins/Shutterstock