Chile on Wednesday named the anti-colonialist Western The Settlers from first-time feature filmmaker Felipe Gálvez as its official entry for Best International Feature at the 2024 Academy Awards.
The film coming off a FIPRESCI Prize win at the 2023 Cannes Film Festival, where it played in Un Certain Regard, joins a list of entrants that includes Smoke Sauna Sisterhood (Estonia), The Teachers’ Lounge (Germany), Concrete Utopia (South Korea) and Thunder (Switzerland), as previously announced.
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Following forthcoming screenings at the Toronto Film Festival and the New York Film Festival, the pic will be released theatrically in North America by Mubi, which also holds distribution rights for the UK, Latin America, Turkey, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Italy, Benelux, and India, and will unveil further details as to its release plans at a later date.
Written by Gálvez and Antonia Girardi, in collaboration with Mariano Llinás, The Settler is set in Chile at the beginning of the 20th century, where a wealthy landowner hires three horsemen to mark out the perimeter of his extensive property and open a route to the Atlantic Ocean across vast Patagonia. The expedition, composed of a young Chilean mestizo, an American mercenary, and led by a reckless British lieutenant, soon turns into a “civilizing” raid. Pic’s cast includes Mark Stanley, Camilo Arancibia, Benjamín Westfall, Alfredo Castro, Mishell Guaña, Agustín Rittano, Mariano Llinás, Sam Spruell, Adriana Stuven, Luis Machín and Marcelo Alonso.
The film is presented by Cinema Inutile (USA), produced by Quijote Films (Chile), Rei Cine (Argentina), Quiddity Films (UK), and Volos Films (Taiwan); in co-production with Cine Sud Promotion (France), Snowglobe (Denmark), Film I Väst (Sweden), Sutor Kolonko (Germany); in association with: Finite Films (UK), mk2 Films (France), and Dulac Distribution (France). Producers included Giancarlo Nasi, Benjamín Domenech, Santiago Gallelli, Matías Roveda, Emily Morgan, Thierry Lenouvel, and Stefano Centini. Katrin Pors, Eva Jakobsen, Mikkel Jersin, Kristina Börjeson, Anthony Muir, Ingmar Trost and Fernando Bascuñán co-produced, with Alex C. Lo, Constanza Erenchun, and Amy Gardner exec producing.
Said Gálvez of his film’s recognition, “It is a great honor for me to learn that The Settlers has managed to captivate the Chilean Film Academy. I feel a profound responsibility in representing our country during such an important year, filled with remarkable films and talented filmmakers. They showcase the diversity and quality of our cinematography.
I trust that The Settlers will continue its journey and kick off its Oscar campaign at its North American premiere during the Toronto Film Festival on September 11th, coinciding with a very significant day in Chilean history, commemorating 50 years since the Military Coup.
The Settlers is a necessary film that compels us to remember what has been silenced for centuries. It addresses the past without euphemisms and treats those who have been systematically erased from history with the utmost respect.”
Stated producer Giancarlo Nasi, “It is a great honor and a great responsibility for Quijote Films to have been chosen once again by the Chilean Film Academy to represent our country in the Oscar race. This year, the competition was very strong, with excellent Chilean films alongside us. The Settlers possesses all the necessary attributes to secure an Oscar nomination. The film marked Chile’s return to the official selection at Cannes, and it is the first time we have won the FIPRESCI Prize at that festival. We take immense pride in the outstanding reception that The Settlers has garnered from the press, audiences, and festivals worldwide. It is now embarking on an extraordinary journey that includes stops in Toronto, the New York Film Festival, and San Sebastián.
We are particularly proud to bring to the global stage the central theme of The Settlers: the recognition of indigenous peoples and the reexamination of our colonial past—a universal theme that contributes to both local and global dialogues. Alongside our incredible team of co-producers, spanning over eight countries, as well as our partners MK2 and Mubi, and our international allies, we aspire to share this historical narrative with the world and attain the well-deserved Oscar nomination.”
While Chile has submitted nearly 30 films for Oscar consideration over the years, it secured its first nomination only a decade ago, with Pablo Larraín’s No, claiming its first statuette in 2018 with Sebastián Lelio’s A Fantastic Woman. The film most recently emerging from the country as a strong contender was Maite Alberdi’s The Mole Agent, which made the International Feature shortlist in 2020.
Mubi looks to return to awards contention after making its way through various races with such acclaimed titles as Aftersun, International Feature Oscar nominee Decision to Leave, and Joachim Trier’s The Worst Person in the World, which in representing Norway nabbed an Original Screenplay nom at the Oscars, while also appearing as a strong Intl Feature contender. The streamer’s most recent winner in that category was Ryusuke Hamaguchi’s much-discussed Drive My Car in 2022.
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