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Invitation for South African filmmakers to submit films for the 93rd Oscars – International Feature Film category

September 17, 2020

The National Film and Video Foundation (NFVF), an agency of the Department of Sports, Arts and Culture, is extending a call to all South African producers to submit their films for entry into the 93rdAnnual Academy Awards (Oscars). The Academy has opened a call for entry for International Feature Film Award, inviting South Africans to submit their feature films for consideration.

The NFVF is officially recognised by the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences to make submissions on behalf of the South African Film industry.

The closing date for submissions is the 12 October 2020, 16h00. The South African Academy Selection Committee will choose one film as the country’s official submission for the International Feature Film Award.

The unprecedented coronavirus/COVID-19 global pandemic mandated the closure of commercial motion picture theatres worldwide. Until further notice and for the 93rd Awards year only, country selected films that had a previously planned theatrical release but are initially made available through a reputable commercial streaming distribution service or video on demand may qualify for awards consideration in the International Feature category for the 93rd Academy Awards under these provisions:

  • Provide (original document(s) of government mandated theatre/cinema closure dates, previously planned theatrical release and steaming distribution or video on demand agreements.
  • The film be made available on the secure Academy Screening Room member site within 60 days of the film being officially selected;
  • That it meets all other eligibility requirements

When theatres reopen in accordance with national and local specified guidelines and criteria, and on a date to be determined by the Academy, this rules exemption will no longer apply. All films released thereafter will be expected to comply with the standard International Feature Film category theatrical qualifying requirements.

Film festival participation does not qualify a film in the International Feature Film category. Films must comply with all other eligibility requirements for the 93rd Academy Awards.

To be eligible this year, films must have been released in the submitting country for a theatrical run of at least seven consecutive days beginning no earlier than October 1, 2018 and no later than September 30, 2019.

To be eligible for entry 


An international film is defined as a feature-length motion picture (over 40 minutes) produced outside the United States of America and its territories with a predominantly (more than 50%) non-English dialogue track. Animated and documentary feature films are permitted.


1. The film must be first released in the country of origin no earlier than October 1, 2019, and no later than December 31, 2020, and be first publicly exhibited for at least seven consecutive days in a commercial motion picture theatre for the profit of the producer and exhibitor.

Submissions must be in 35mm or 70mm film, or in a 24- or 48-frame progressive scan Digital Cinema format with a minimum projector resolution of 2048 by 1080 pixels, source image format conforming to ST 428- 1:2006 D-Cinema Distribution Master – Image Characteristics; image compression (if used) conforming to ISO/IEC 15444-1 (JPEG 2000); and image and sound files packaged as Digital Cinema Packages (DCPs) in either “Interop” or “SMPTE DCP” formats. SMPTE DCP refers to SMPTE ST 429-2 and related specifications. Blu-ray format does not meet Digital Cinema requirements.

The audio in a Digital Cinema Package (DCP) is typically 5.1 or 7.1 channels of discrete audio. The minimum for a non-mono configuration of the audio shall be three channels as Left, Centre, Right (a Left/Right configuration is not acceptable in a theatrical environment).

The audio data shall be formatted in conformance with ST 428-2:2006 D-Cinema Distribution Master – Audio Characteristics and ST 428-3:2006 D-Cinema Distribution Master – Audio Channel Mapping and Channel Labelling.

2. The film must be advertised and exploited during its qualifying theatrical release in a manner considered normal and customary to theatrical feature distribution practices. The film need not have been released in the United States.

3. Films that, in any version, receive a nontheatrical public exhibition or distribution before their first qualifying theatrical release will not be eligible for Academy Awards consideration. Nontheatrical public exhibition or distribution includes but is not limited to:

• Broadcast and cable television


• DVD distribution

• Inflight airline distribution

• Internet transmission

4. The recording of the original dialogue track as well as the completed picture must be predominantly (more than 50%) in a language or languages other than English. ACCURATE, LEGIBLE ENGLISHLANGUAGE SUBTITLES ARE REQUIRED.

5. The submitting country must certify that creative control of the film was largely in the hands of citizens or residents of that country.

6. The International Feature Film Award Executive Committee shall resolve all questions of eligibility and rules.


1. Each country shall be invited to submit its best film to the Academy. Selection of that film shall be made by one approved organization, jury or committee that should include artists and/or craftspeople from the field of motion pictures.

2. Only one film will be accepted from each country as the official selection. Films can be submitted to the Academy as soon as they are selected.

3. The following submission materials must be submitted to the National Film and Video Foundation, 87 Central Street, Houghton 2198. 12 October 2020, 16h00.

  • One 35mm or 70mm film prints or DCPs with accurate, legible English-language subtitles. The print or DCP submitted for Awards consideration must be identical in content and length to the print or DCP used in the film’s qualifying theatrical release.
  • 50 DVDs of the entry, without trailers or other extraneous material, capable of playing on Region 0/NTSC standard definition DVD players. DVDs must be in individual paper sleeves and must include the film title, running time and country only. No artwork, promotional material, contact information, company name or film logo is acceptable on the DVD labels or sleeves
  • Full cast and credits list
  • Director’s biography, filmography and photograph
  • 3 to 5 representative film stills, including a designated key frame
  • A poster from the film’s theatrical release
  • Proof of advertising for the film’s qualifying theatrical release


Film prints, DCPS and DVDs submitted will be retained by the Academy throughout the voting process and are not available for loan. By submitting a film, the filmmaker agrees that the Academy has the right to make copies and distribute them for voting purposes only. The Academy will retain for its archives one print of every motion picture receiving a nomination for the International Feature Film award. Additional prints of those films receiving nominations will be returned to the sender at the Academy’s expense.


1. International Feature Film nominations will be determined in three phases:

  1. Phase 1 the South African International Feature Film Committee will view the eligible submissions in the category and vote by secret ballot over a number of days (determined by the number of submissions received). The group’s top vote will be chosen as South Africa’s official submission for the category.


Once approved, South Africa’s official selection will be submitted to the Academy.

International Feature Film nominations will be determined in two rounds of voting:

  1. Phase 2 The International Feature Film Preliminary Committee will view the eligible submissions in the category and vote by secret ballot. The group’s top seven choices, augmented by three additional selections voted by the Academy’s International Feature Film Executive Committee, will constitute the shortlist of ten films.
  1. Phase 3 The International Feature Film Nominating Committee must view the ten shortlisted films and vote by secret ballot to determine the category’s five nominees.

2. Final voting for the International Feature Film award shall be restricted to active and life Academy members who have viewed all five nominated films.

3. The Academy statuette (Oscar) will be awarded to the film and accepted by the director on behalf of the creative talents. For Academy Awards purposes, the country will be credited as the nominee. The director’s name will be listed on the statuette plaque after the country and film title.


1. In addition to complying with the Awards Rules for the 93rd Oscars, all participants in the Awards competition are also bound by the Academy Campaign Regulations concerning the promotion of eligible films and are subject to the penalties provided therein, including the potential declaration of ineligibility by the Board of Governors for violation of those guidelines. The Regulations can be found at Oscars.org/regulations.


1. International Feature Film submissions may submit for consideration for the 93rd Academy Awards in other categories, including Best Picture, provided they comply with the rules governing those categories.

2. Films submitted for consideration in the International Feature Film category for the 93rd Academy Awards are NOT eligible for consideration in other awards categories in the subsequent year, 94th Academy Awards (2021).

Eligible films should be sent no later than 12 October 2020, 16h00 for attention:

The South African Academy Awards Selection Committee c/o Stacey Lefine

National Film and Video Foundation

87 Central Street Houghton, 2198


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