By Benjamin Njoku
The Nigeria Official Selection Committee (for the Academy Awards IFF Submissions) NOSC, formerly known as the Nigeria Oscars Selection Committee, has announced the reopening of the submission portal for the 93rd Academy Awards from Thursday, October 29, through Tuesday, November 3.
In a statement by the committee, the reopening of the submission portal was due to the fact that after several stages of screening of films received for selection, including basic technicality checks by the committee, and the unavailability of the required supporting documents (streaming distribution or video on demand agreements) by the filmmakers, some of the submissions received by NOSC are yet to meet all eligibility rules.
The statement further states that due to the COVID-19 global pandemic, the country selected films that had a theatrical release but are initially made available through reputable commercial streaming distribution service or video on demand may qualify for awards consideration in the IFF category.
It also insists that documentation needs to provide government-mandated theatre closure dates, previously planned theatrical release and streaming/VOD agreement.
NOSC, it said, is faced with a shortlist in which some of the films are without or pending theatrical censorship, streaming distribution or video on demand agreements and other supporting documents as required by the Academy.
It noted that “The committee has worked tirelessly to ensure that the film, which will be representing the country at the 93rd Academy Awards in the International Feature Film Category, would have to meet all eligibility rules and technical requirements to enable the film compete with other entries in the category.
“Also, with the approval of Nigerian pidgin by the Academy as a non-English recording dialogue in films, this would further allow entries from more filmmakers and provide creatives the opportunity to showcase their art.
“The year has been a very peculiar one, and no one was prepared for what we are currently witnessing. From the lockdown due to the pandemic to the ‘new normal’ of social distancing, activities and events previously scheduled have either been cancelled, suspended, or slowed down, and Nollywood was not left out.
“The committee had a tough choice to make between the risk of not submitting a film for the 93rd Academy Awards or to reopen the submission portal.
“But after critical deliberation, the committee has decided to reopen the portal to provide filmmakers an extended time to submit their work and their supporting documents.
“The aim is to have a well-rounded and worthy representation at the Oscars.
“We also believe that this is fair to everyone, especially in recognition of the peculiar challenges the world has faced this year,” Chineze Anyaene-Abonyi opined.
“Film stakeholders and the public should note that the reopening of the portal is an exception to the rule because of the peculiarities of the current circumstances we have found ourselves.
“Hence, filmmakers are expected to strictly adhere to the rules and regulations guiding movie submissions and ensure to submit within the stipulated time.”
NOSC concluded with advice to filmmakers, that whatever art they are creating or intending to create for the International Feature Film Category should be a deliberate and intentional act right from the pre-production, post-production, and distribution stage of the movie towards the IFF Category in the Academy Awards.
“The eligibility rules and technical requirements are available on the NOSC and Academy websites to guide everyone,” it added.
An international film is defined as a feature-length motion picture (over 40 minutes) produced outside the United States of America and its territory with a predominantly (more than 50%) non-English dialogue track.
Animated and documentary feature films are permitted, the statement added.