Marhoul’s most recent film, The Painted Bird, premiered in competition at this year’s Venice Film Festival, where it won the Cinema for UNICEF Award and is the Czech Republic’s international film entry at the 2020 Oscars.
The Holocaust pic, based on the controversial Joseph Kosinski novel follows a young Jewish boy in Eastern Europe who seeks refuge during World War II where he encounters many different characters. The pic has been in the works for quite some time through various re-writes, but Marhoul, who also wrote and produced The Painted Bird, got the project off the ground with a cast that includes Harvey Keitel, Stellan Skarsgard, Julian Sands and Udo Kier.
IFC picked up U.S. rights for The Painted Bird out of its TIFF premiere and will open the movie next year.
Marhoul previously directed Tobruck and Smart Philip.
The last time the Czech Republic won at the Oscars was in 1996 with Jan Sverak’s Kolya. The country has been submitting since the 1960s as Czechoslovakia and since 1994 as the Czech Republic. In the 1960s Czechoslovakia had two wins for The Shop on Main Street and Closely Watched Trains.