Lithuanian documentary Wonderful Losers: A Different World angling for an Oscar nomination
by Vassilis Economou
- Arūnas Matelis’ documentary will be the Lithuanian submission for the 91st Academy Awards, aiming for both the Best Foreign-language Film and Best Documentary nominations
Arūnas Matelis’ sophomore feature-length documentary, Wonderful Losers: A Different World [+see also:
film profile], which premiered last year at the Warsaw Film Festival and was crowned with the Best Documentary Award, is Lithuania’s submission for the Best Foreign-language Film Academy Award, which will ultimately be handed out on 24 February 2019.
Wonderful Losers: A Different World is a sports documentary that follows one of the most highly respected cycling competitions in the world, the Giro d’Italia, and aims to shed light on the lesser-known professional cyclists who always ride at the back of their groups. These athletes must go through all of the possible exacting challenges, with only one goal: to secure the victory of their team leader. Matelis, who directed, wrote and co-produced the documentary, spent eight years making the film.
Apart from its international success after being screened at multiple film festivals, the documentary was also one of the most successful films of the year in its home country. In June, it received the Best Documentary and Best Composer Awards at the 11th Lithuanian Film and TV Silver Crane Awards (see the news), plus it received the most votes for the Audience Award. This is also Matelis’ second attempt at being selected for an Oscar nomination, as in 2006, his debut documentary, Before Flying Back to Earth, was the first-ever Lithuanian submission to the Academy.
It’s also worth noting that, according to the Academy’s new rules, since the film is a documentary, it also automatically becomes eligible for the Best Documentary Film category. The rest of the films that were shortlisted to represent Lithuania were two fictions, Miracle [+see also:
interview: Eglė Vertelytė
film profile] by Eglė Vertelytė and Owl Mountain by Audrius Juzėnas, and two documentaries, The Ancient Woods [+see also:
film profile] by Mindaugas Survila and What We Leave Behind by Jūratė Samulionytė and Vilma Samulionytė.
Wonderful Losers: A Different World is a pan-European co-production involving eight countries, produced by Studio Nominum (Lithuania), Stefilm (Italy), Dok Mobile (Switzerland), Associate Directors (Belgium), VFS Films (Latvia), Planet Korda Pictures (Ireland), Dearcán Media (UK) and SUICAfilms (Spain), and it was supported by the Lithuanian Film Centre.
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