ROJEK will represent Canada in the nomination process for Best International Feature Film at the 96th Academy Awards.
Written and directed by Zaynê Akyol, and produced by Audrey-Ann Dupuis-Pierre, Sylvain Corbeil, and Akyol of Métafilms, the documentary – told in a mix of Arabic, English, French, and Kurdish – interviews incarcerated members of the Islamic State (ISIS) from all over the world, as well as their wives, sharing the common dream of establishing a caliphate or Muslim political-religious state. The film traces the rise and fall of ISIS through their personal stories against the backdrop of current, post-war Syrian Kurdistan.
“In what may have been Canada’s most competitive year ever, ROJEK was selected by a jury of industry peers as the film to best represent Canada in the Oscar race,” said Julie Roy, Executive Director and CEO, of Telefilm Canada. “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. We wish Zaynê, Metafilms, and the entire creative team all the best of luck as they move forward.”
“Being chosen to represent Canada at the Oscars with ROJEK is a tremendous honour,” said Akyol. “I would like to express my deep gratitude to the pan-Canadian selection committee for this recognition. Also, a sincere thank you to my dedicated team, who continually pushed the boundaries of creativity and excellence. This moment is the fruit of our shared passion and unwavering commitment to cinema and justice.”
ROJEK premiered at the 2022 Visions du Réel Film Festival in Nyon, Switzerland and claimed the DGC Special Jury Prize – Canadian Feature Documentary at the 2022 Hot Docs Canadian International Film Festival. The documentary opened in Canadian theatres on Jan. 20 and is available to rent on all major platforms.
The film was selected from 28 submitted for consideration by a vote of industry organizations and guilds, as well as filmmakers and industry professionals appointed to represent organizations. So far, seven countries have submitted their entries for Best International Feature Film category. Last year, 93 countries submitted a film.
The Academy will select a shortlist of 15 titles moving forward in the race in December with 2024 Oscar nominations to be announced Jan. 23.
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