Colombia’s Birds of Passage shortlisted for 2019 Oscars

Colombia’s “Birds of Passage” is one of nine films shortlisted for nomination in the Oscar’s best foreign language film category this year.

The film by Cristina Gallego is one of two films from Latin America shortlisted by the Academy awards.

The movie follows a family of the indigenous Wayuu nation during the late-60 and early-70s, and their involvement with the illegal marijuana trade that preceded the cocaine trade.

Rotten Tomatoes critical consensus calls the film a “drug crime thriller from a different direction that’s as visually absorbing as it is hard-hitting“, giving it a 91% rating.

“Birds of Passage” opened the 50th edition of the Director’s Fortnight of the Cannes Film Festival this year. As well as receiving critical reception at the Telluride, and Toronto International, film festivals.

Directed by Gallego, the film is another collaboration between the director and her husband Ciro Guerra, who wrote and directed Embrace the Serpent, which Cristina helped produce.

Born in Bogota, D.C. in 1978, Gallego is the youngest of 10 children. Her family emigrated to the capital city in search of work and study.

Gallego graduated from Grancolombia PolyTech in 1999 studying Advertising and Marketing, after which she attended the National University of Colombia. She graduated in 2003 having studied Film and Television.

Gallego said that they didn’t expect to be short-listed for nominees, “the Oscar competition has been very hard this year, with strong foreign-language films”. Embrace the Serpent was nominated for best foreign language film.

This year’s Oscars had 87 films submitted in the foreign language category. The Mexican film “Roma” by Alfonso Cuaron is the other Latin American film short-listed the Oscar’s foreign film category.

Roma and Cold War (Poland) are both entries from Netflix and Amazon Studios, respectively. Signaling industry changes, Roma, winner of the Venice Film Festival top prize, was released in theaters before being made available online.

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