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Antigone by Sophie Deraspe to represent Canada in the race for Best International Feature Film at the 2020 Oscars

20 September 2019

Montréal, September 20, 2019Antigone by writer-director Sophie Deraspe will represent Canada in the race for Best International Feature Film (formerly Best Foreign Language Film) at the 92nd Academy Awards ceremony, taking place February 9, 2020.

“We are extremely proud of the calibre and quality of the 16 films submitted to the Selection Committee this year, and equally proud to say that nine of them were directed or co-directed by women,” said Christa Dickenson, Executive Director of Telefilm Canada. “Our priority now is to celebrate and encourage the team behind Antigone as they begin the exciting race for the Best International Feature Film Oscar. This is a unique opportunity to showcase Canadian talent on the international stage, and we are delighted to be providing support as a frontline partner in this great adventure.”

“Bringing Antigone to the Oscar race is not only a huge honour, it’s also a way for me to highlight the values of empathy, artistry and integrity, which Canadian films exemplify so well,” said writer-director Sophie Deraspe.

World premiering at the 44th annual Toronto International Film Festival, this fifth feature by the Quebec filmmaker made an impact that earned it the prestigious Best Canadian Feature Film prize. Produced by Marc Daigle of Corporation ACPAV, with associate producer Isabelle Couture, and distributed by Maison 4:3, the film was written, directed and shot by Sophie Deraspe. Nahéma Ricci in the title role is joined by Nour Belkhiria, Rachida Oussaada, Antoine Desrochers, Rawad El-Zein, Paul Doucet, Hakim Brahimi, Jean-Sébastien Courchesne and Benoit Gouin. Antigone will open in Quebec on November 8.

As of yesterday, 61 countries have submitted their nominations for the Best International Feature Film, including the France-Qatar-Germany-Canada-Palestine-Turkey coproduction It Must Be Heaven by Elia Suleiman, submitted by Palestine, and the Cuban entry A Translator by Rodrigo Barriuso and Sebastián Barriuso, which is a Cuban-Canadian co-venture. Last year, 87 countries contended.

Bio notes:
A love of visual arts and literature led Sophie Deraspe to cinema. As director and/or cinematographer, she made several documentaries before helming her first fiction feature, Rechercher Victor Pellerin (2006), which explores notions of reality. After garnering critical success and accolades at international festivals, she followed up with the touchingly realistic Les signes vitaux (2009). Since competing in Rotterdam’s Tiger Awards in 2010, Les signes vitaux has won 15 honours at thirty international festivals and was a Prix Jutra finalist for Best Film at home in Quebec. In 2015, Sophie premiered the fiction feature Les Loups, winner of the FIPRESCI International Critics’ Prize at Turin, as well as her first documentary feature, Le profil Amina, shown in official competition at Sundance. Antigone is her fifth feature film.

In helping her brother escape from prison, Antigone defies the authorities: the police, the judiciary, the penal system and the father of her friend Haemon. Brilliant and, until now, blameless, the teenage girl feels the grip of power tightening around her. But she rejects the law of man and follows her own sense of justice, dictated by love and loyalty.

Canada in the Best International Feature Film (formerly Best Foreign Language Film) category at the Oscars
In the history of the Oscars, eight Canadian films have been official nominees in the Best Foreign Language Film category: in 2013, Rebelle by Kim Nguyen; in 2012, Monsieur Lazhar by Philippe Falardeau and In Darkness by Agniebska Holland (a minority coproduction with Poland and Germany); in 2011, Incendies by Denis Villeneuve; and, in 2007, Water by Deepa Mehta. The list also includes three films by Denys Arcand: Le Déclin de l’empire américain in 1987, Jésus de Montréal in 1990 and, in 2004, Les Invasions barbares, the only Canadian film to have won the Oscar in this category.

Selection process for Canada’s Best International Feature Film entry
Telefilm Canada coordinates and chairs the pan-Canadian Selection Committee, without voting right. The committee comprises some 20 members representing key government agencies and national film industry associations. It is responsible for choosing the film that will represent Canada at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which accepts only one film per country for the Best International Feature Film category. Submitted films must have been produced outside the United States in a language other than English and must have been theatrically exhibited in the submitting country for at least seven consecutive days between October 1, 2018, and September 30, 2019. A shortlist of 10 films will be unveiled on December 16, 2019, and the chosen five official nominees will be announced on January 13, 2020.

Further information on Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences rules

About Telefilm Canada
Telefilm is dedicated to the cultural, commercial and industrial success of Canada’s audiovisual industry. Through funding and promotion programs, Telefilm supports dynamic companies and creative talent at home and around the world. Telefilm also makes recommendations regarding the certification of audiovisual coproduction treaties to the Minister of Canadian Heritage, and administers the programs of the Canada Media Fund. Launched in 2012, the Talent Fund accepts private donations which principally support emerging talent. Visit and follow us on Twitter at and on Facebook at


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Media enquiries:

Brian Mullen
Advisor, Public Relations – English Market
Telefilm Canada

Claire Strunck
Advisor, Public Relations – French Market
Telefilm Canada