Flee Flee

Flee, the much-hyped animated documentary about an Afghan refugee, will represent Denmark in the Oscars’ international feature film category, the Danish Film Institute has announced.

This means the film could be nominated in the category, which rarely sees animated submissions. Waltz with Bashir, representing Israel, became the first animated nominee for the award in 2009. There have been none since.

Flee is a Danish-French-Swedish-Norwegian co-production, with Denmark leading the production. It is the animation debut of Danish documentary maker Jonas Poher Rasmussen. The film is produced by Denmark’s Final Cut for Real and animation studio Sun Creature, in co-production with Vivement Lundi!, Mer Film, and Mostfilm.

The film could theoretically also compete in the documentary feature and animated feature categories. It has done very well on the festival circuit, winning awards like the Cristal for a feature at Annecy and the World Cinema Grand Jury Prize: Documentary at Sundance. It is nominated for best documentary at the Gotham Awards.

Announcing the selection, Claus Ladegaard, CEO of the Danish Film Institute, said in a statement:

Flee is the haunting and inventive story of a refugee and his journey. About the enormous price that people in his position pay every day, even in a safe haven. Jonas Poher Rasmussen directs with tremendous empathy, and Amin’s story is hard to shake. The film’s finely balanced use of animation, music, and live action gives us a real sense of the horror and cynicism of Amin’s journey to Europe — while not ignoring the beauty, humor, and hope of his story. This makes Flee an unusually nuanced film with social and existential depth.

The reception of Flee has been overwhelming since it premiered at Sundance, and more prominent North American festivals have selected the film. Now, its U.S. theatrical release is coming shortly via Oscar-winning distributor Neon. This kind of visibility and backing carries significant weight in the Oscar race. The committee is convinced that Flee can continue its impressive international journey on the back of its powerful theme and original form.

Denmark won the international feature film Oscar last year, with Thomas Vinterberg’s Another Round.

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