Greg Sneddon’s Arrows of the Thunder Dragon has been selected as Australia’s official entry for Best Foreign Language Film at the 88th Academy Awards®. The film will now compete with 80 other entrants from around the world to be shortlisted for nomination.
Set in the 1980s, the story follows brother and sister Kuenphen and Jamyang where, in a remote Bhutanese village, they learn traditional archery from their old warrior grandfather. The respected but eccentric old man uses a heavy hand and strict discipline to train the young Kuenphen in the art of traditional archery. It becomes clear Kuenphen has opportunities to further his interests while sister Jamyang must stay home to weave, cook and get married; a fate the young woman is not willing to accept without a fight. When Kuenphen has to leave the village to take his mother on a three-day walk to the old castle for medical treatment, Jamyang wants to explore a wider world other than the norm of following her mother’s traditional life.
Filmed entirely on location in the breathtaking Himalaya Mountains, the actors are made up of local highland village people. The traditional life in tiny isolated Bhutan is striking.
“I’m thrilled and honoured for our film to represent Australia in the Academy Awards® foreign language category,” says writer/director/producer Greg Sneddon. “I feel Arrows of the Thunder Dragon is important on a few levels, not the least of which is that it is a thinking-person’s film that relies on subtle story content to engage the audience. The Bhutanese traditional way of life and death is quite remarkable in its sophistication.”
Screen Australia arranges an independent panel to make the selection from the eligible Australian foreign language films each year. To be eligible for consideration in the category, a film must be defined by predominantly non-English dialogue and have been theatrically (cinema) released in its country of origin for at least seven days. Only one film can be submitted from each country.
The 88th Academy Award® nominations will be announced on 14 January 2016, with the awards presented on 28 February 2016.