Leuven festival now Oscar qualifier for documentary film


The annual film festival Docville has been chosen as an Oscar qualifier, so its grand prize winners automatically make the Academy Award longlist

And the Oscar goes to…

Docville, Leuven’s annual documentary film festival, is now an Oscar-qualifying festival. That means that the winner of the festival’s prize for best feature-length documentary will automatically make the longlist for consideration for an Oscar.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which handles the voting for the Academy Awards, or Oscars, has changed how it will judge documentary films for Oscar nomination. Previously, a film had to have a cinema release in the US in order to be considered for an Oscar nomination.

Now, 28 documentary film festivals around the world will send in their winner, which will make up the longlist. Docville is one of those festivals.

Two Leuven festivals now qualifiers

Docville is organised by Fonk, which also runs Leuven’s Short Film Festival. The latter has been an Oscar qualifier for short film since 2012. “Docville now becoming the only festival in the country to be an Oscar qualifier for documentary film really gives a boost to our organisation,” said Johan Van Scharen of Fonk.

The change will see many more foreign-language documentaries on the longlist. The Academy will then whittle the longlist down to five final nominees.

Docville takes place in the spring, and so this year’s winner of the jury prize is already on the longlist for the Academy Awards. The film, Piripkura, is by a trio of Brazilian filmmakers and records the effort to keep a small part of the Amazon rainforest protected for the Piripkura nomadic tribe – of which there are only two left.

Photo: Icarus, a film that inadvertently uncovered Russias far-reaching doping industry, won the Oscar for best documentary this year