By Musa Alcan and Cansu Dikme
Turkey on Friday named 'The Wild Pear Tree', a film by Cannes Palme d'Or-winning director Nuri Bilge Ceylan, as the country’s Oscar nominee for the 91st Academy Awards of 2019.
A 17-member board, including representatives of the Culture and Tourism Ministry and Turkish cinema associations, chose the film as Turkey’s nominee for the Foreign Language Academy Award in a meeting in Istanbul.
A co-production by Turkey, France, Germany and Bulgaria, Ceylan’s film was selected among 12.
The Wild Pear Tree, which premiered at the Cannes Film Festival in May, stars Dogu Demirkol, Murat Cemcir and Bennu Yildirimlar.
It narrates the story of a youth passionate about literature who wants to be a writer.
“Returning to the village where he was born, he pours his heart and soul into scraping together the money he needs to be published, but his father’s debts catch up with him,” according to the press kit.
Tuesday's selection is only the first step of many in the long march to an Oscar win.
Every country is invited to submit one film to the U.S.-based Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Those films are then evaluated by the Foreign Language Film Award Committee, which selects five nominees for best foreign-language film.
In 2018, Turkey selected Can Ulkay’s true-life drama 'Ayla' for an Oscar entry but the film did not make it to the final five at this year's Academy Awards.