By Jay Forte, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – The film “Pequeno Segredo” (Little Secret), directed by David Schurmann, was chosen on September 12th as the representative of Brazil in the race for the 2017 Oscar nomination. During the announcement, the producer Beto Rodrigues, one of the nine members of the committee that made the selection, said the decision was based on two criteria: technical quality of the work and the candidate’s chances to please American jurors.
“Besides the obvious criteria – technical and artistic – there was also a thought of trying to choose a movie that arrived in America and had more chance to please,” said Rodrigues, who spoke as a spokesman in the absence of the committee chairman, filmmaker Bruno Barreto.
With the script by Marcos Bernstein, the film tells the story of the Schurmann family, who live around the world aboard a sailboat, and have their lives transformed to receive the orphaned girl Kat. The director, David Schurmann is the middle child of Schurmann family and has directed films and television series.
The selection process was marked by controversy this year, and the actress Ingra Liberato and director Guilherme Fiuza left the committee responsible for choosing the film. Liberato released a statement on social media that the commission had “its legitimacy questioned by a great part of the artistic community.”
Fiuza claimed personal reasons not to participate in the selection. They were replaced by filmmaker Bruno Barreto and actress and director Carla Camurati. The production was chosen from sixteen entries this year, and some felt that “Aquarius” by Kleber Mendonça Filho should have been selected as it already was accepted into Cannes this year.
The last time a movie selected by Brazil was nominated foreign film Oscar was in 1999, the film was Central Station by Walter Salles, but did not win the award. In 2004, Cidade de Deus (City of God) by Fernando Meirelles, received four nominations (although originally released in 2002), but not for best foreign film.