Canada selects Zaynê Akyol’s documentary Rojek as an official submission in the 2024 Oscar race for Best International Feature Film, announced by the Telefilm Canada during a virtual press conference.
Writer-director Akyol’s film is the only second documentary to receive such honour after Jason Loftus’s ‘Eternal Spring’ was tapped for the honour last year.
Julie Roy, Executive Director and CEO of Telefilm Canada said in a statement that “This announcement marks the beginning of an incredible journey and a one-of-a-kind opportunity for Rojek to reach audiences around the world and give them just a taste of the quality of filmmaking that Canada has to offer.”
Produced by Audrey-Ann Dupuis-Pierre, Sylvain Corbeil, and Akyol of Métafilms, the documentary attempts to trace the beginnings, rise and fall of the Islamic State (ISIS) through the personal stories of its members around the world.
“Being chosen to represent Canada at the Oscars with Rojek is a tremendous honour,” said the director Akyol in a statement from Telefilm Canada.
Featuring a mix of Arabic, English, French, and Kurdish languages, Rojek was first opened in Canadian theatres on 20th January after being premiered at several film festivals including Visions du Réel in 2022; North American premiere at Hot Docs, where it won the Special Jury Prize in the Canadian Spectrum; Vallodolid International Film Festival, in which it received Best Documentary award; Jihlava International Documentary Film Festival, where it won the Testimonies Award and also won prizes at the Gimli Film Festival, the Golden Apricot Yerevan International Film Festival, and the RomeMed Film Festival.
Rojek was selected out of 28 films submission for consideration in a vote determined by a pan-Canadian committee of industry organizations and guilds, as well as filmmakers and industry professionals appointed to represent organizations.