The president of US distributor Samuel Goldwyn Films, Peter Goldwyn, has weighed in on the backlash to India’s selection of his competitor for this year’s best international film race at the Oscars, calling the nominee “The Last Film Show.” , which will be released in North America, “a really strong contender.”
Directed by Pan Nalin (“Samsara,” “Valley of Flowers”), the Gujarati-language film is the story of a nine-year-old boy who pursues his dreams in cinema. He debuted at the Tribeca Festival in 2021 and has since played festivals in Palms Springs, Seattle and Mill Valley. “Last Film Show” will have its commercial launch in Gujarat, India on October 2. on January 14, 2022, giving him the necessary qualifying theatrical run in his home territory.
The selection by the Film Federation of India was announced last week, prompting an immediate backlash, led by cries that the popular musical blockbuster “RRR” was rejected. Director SS Rajamouli’s action flick has done big business around the world, with some arguing that it would offer a more accessible experience for Oscar voters.
Variance Films, the US distributor of “RRR,” still plans to mount an Oscar campaign urging Academy voters to consider the film in other categories.
“Last Film Show” has also attracted its own backlash, with claims online suggesting it sounds too much like Giuseppe Tornatore’s 1988 Italian classic “Cinema Paradiso.”
BN Tiwari, president of the Western India Film Employees Federation, has even stated that “Last Film Show” is a foreign production and should not be considered an Indian work. Indian Siddharth Roy Kapur is credited as producer. The film is partially financed and represented in international markets by Orange Studios of France.
“We believe that ‘Last Film Show’ speaks to the heart and soul of cinema, which will appeal not only to moviegoers in the United States but also to members of the Academy,” said Peter Goldwyn, president of SGF. “We think the movie is a really strong contender this year, and we’re excited to bring it to American audiences. We’re also looking forward to bringing our experience with Academy Awards campaigns to the launch of this title.”
“Orange Studio was the first to believe in Pan Nalin’s beautiful film ‘Last Film Show’. We acquired the film at the script level and came on board to handle the worldwide sales of the film. The film was sold to several territories and we expect its release in Italy on November 24 and in Japan on January 20 (2023). However, the biggest releases will be in India on October 14 and in the US, “”The Artist”).
“Our years of experience tell us that ‘Last Film Show’ has a great opportunity to win the hearts of moviegoers around the world and especially Academy Award winners. And we plan to devote our full attention to making a successful Oscar campaign in coordination with our partners at Samuel Goldwyn Films for ‘Last Film Show,’” he said.
Variance said that “RRR” will be up for Best Picture, Director (SS Rajamouli), Original Screenplay (Rajamouli and V. Vijayendra Prasad), Lead Actor (for NT Rama Rao Jr and Ram Charan), Supporting Actor (Ajay Devgn), Supporting Actress (Alia Bhatt), Original Song (“Naatu Naatu”), Original Score (MM Keeravaani), Cinematography, Production Design, Film Editing, Costume Design, Makeup and Hairstyling, Sound and Visual Effects.