Greece on Wednesday selected Christos Nikou’s Apples as the country’s official entry into the 2021 Oscar International Feature race. Nikou’s debut feature, which premiered as the opening-night film in the Horizons section of this year’s Venice Film Festival, has since been acquired by Cohen Media Group for distribution in the U.S. with Cate Blanchett and partners Andrew Upton and Coco Francini coming aboard as executive producers.
The surreal tale of memory and identity revolves around an unpredictable, sweeping pandemic that causes people to develop sudden amnesia. A man finds himself enrolled in a recovery program designed to help him build a new life, with his treatment performing daily tasks prescribed by his doctors on cassette tape, and capturing these new memories with a Polaroid camera.
Nikou, who co-wrote the script with Stavros Raptis, made his feature directing debut on Apples after being assistant director on Richard Linklater’s Before Midnight and Yorgos Lanthimos’ Dogtooth. The latter pic was the last Greek-submitted film to be nominated in the Oscar category, in 2010.
Anabel Rodríguez Ríos’ documentary Once Upon a Time in Venezuela has been selected by Venezuela as the country’s International Feature entry. The pic has already been shortlisted for the IDA Documentary Awards’ Best Feature competition after it bowed in the World Cinema Documentary Competition at the Sundance Film Festival.
The Venezuela-UK-Brazil-Austria production centers on the Venezuelan national election and the potentially devastating impact it would have on small village of Congo Mirador, which has seen neglect as a result of government neglect and corruption.
The selection was made by the country’s Asociación Nacional Autoroes Cinematograficos.