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Dominican Movie, “La Hija Natural” Makes Oscar List for 2012

October 17, 2011

Los Angeles, 10/17/2011
A Dominican movie made with the support of several institutions including GFDD andFUNGLODE, has made it to the list of official Oscar entries of Best Foreign Film submissions. “Love Child” (La Hija Natural), written and directed by Dominican Republic’s first female director, Leticia Tonos, has been selected to represent the Dominican Republic at the 84th Academy Awards in 2012.

The film, which is Tonos’s first feature, and a co production with La Isla Films, was one of the four movies screened at the Dominican Film Showcase in Washington, DC last July with the support of GFDD and FUNGLODE, the Dominican Embassy in Washington DC, the DR Mission to the OAS and the Art Museum of the Americas at the OAS.

The movie focuses on Maria, who as a child was a simple and sensitive young girl with the strange habit of putting ladybugs in her mouth. After her mother dies in an accident, 18 year-old María decides to look for the father she has never met. She travels to a nearby town taking what few belongings she has and finds her father, Joaquín, living in an old house in the middle of an abandoned banana plantation, which the locals claim is haunted. Having no one else in the world, she has no option but to stay with this drunken and recently widowed old man, and confront the ghosts of the past that haunt them both.

Though not billed as a satire, this authentic take on Dominican life has resonated with both Dominican and international audiences alike, and clearly enchanted the Academy””s foreign-language executive committee. Volunteer members of the Academy, divided into four color-coded groups, have already begun screening the 63 submissions at the Academy””s Samuel Goldwyn Theater. After each screening, voters will score each film on a scale of six-to-10. Once the screenings end in mid January and the six highest-scoring films are determined, an executive committee will meet and add three more films to the list to create a shortlist of nine semi-finalists. Two select second-round committees will then view the nine films over a three-day period. Their votes will determine the five nominees.

As a director – Dominican Republic’s first female one – Leticia is more interested in posing questions than making statements and likes to challenge her audiences with complex topics that require thought. Always concerned about social issues, she has also directed and produced several videos for non-profit organizations. “La Hija Natural” was made with the support of various institutions including the Ministry of Culture, Program Ibermedia, Film Corporation of Puerto Rico, as well as Global Media Arts Institute (GMAI), which is an initiative of both GFDD and FUNGLODE.

About the Dominican Film Showcase: GFDD aims to showcase a sample of the best films produced recently in the Dominican Republic, by Dominican filmmakers, about Dominican topics. It also utilizes the seventh art as a platform for discussion and as a medium for enhancing social awareness and promoting constructive change.

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