Minority co-productions Sparrows and Houston, We Have a Problem! Icelandic and Slovenian candidates for Oscar

Two Croatian minority co-productions, the Icelandic-Danish-Croatian film Sparrows, directed by Rúnar Rúnarsson, and the Slovenian-Croatian feature documentary film Houston, We Have a Problem!, directed by Žiga Virc, are national candidates of Iceland and Slovenia for an American Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences 89th Oscar Award nomination in the category of Best Foreign Film.

Iceland’s Oscar candidate Sparrows is about 16 year-old Ari who lives with his mother in Reykjavik but is suddenly forced to move in with his father in the remote Westfjords. There he has to navigate his relationship with his father along with those of his childhood friends who have, in the meantime, significantly changed. The film is written and directed by Rúnar Rúnarsson, and features Croatian actor Rade Šerbedžija. The producers are Nimbus Film and Nimbus Iceland, while co-producers are Pegasus Pictures (Iceland) and Igor A. Nola of MP Film Production (Croatia).

Sparrows premiered at the prestigious San Sebastian Film Festival in 2015 where it won the Golden Shell for Best Film. Since then it screened at numerous festivals (Toronto, Warsaw, Sao Paulo, Thessaloniki, Les Arcs, Gothenburg, Tofifest, Febiofest…) and won 18 other awards. Sparrows is also a candidate for a 29th European Film Awards nomination, as well as for the Nordic Council Film Prize.

Slovenia’s Oscar candidate, Žiga Virc’s directorial debut, the feature-documentary film Houston, We Have a Problem!, explores the myths of America’s covert purchase of the Yugoslav space program in the early 1960’s, worth several billion dollars. The film is written by Žiga Virc and Boštjan Virc, the editor is Vladimir Gojun, and the Croatian co-producer is Siniša Juričić of Nukleus Film.

Houston, We Have a Problem! is a Slovenian-Croatian-German-Czech-Qatari co-production. The producers are Studio Virc, Nukleus Film, Sutor Kolonko and TV production companies RTV Slovenia, HBO Europe, Westdeutscher Rundfunk (WDR) and the Doha Film Institute. The film premiered at the 15th Tribeca Film Festival early in 2016, and has been screened at a dozen international festivals, most recently at the 19th Festival of Slovenian Film where it won three awards.

Both films are co-financed with subsidies from the Croatian Audiovisual Centre.

The 89th Oscar Awards will take place in Los Angeles on February 26th, 2017. 

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