STA, 29 October 2020 - Stories from the Chestnut Woods (Zgodbe iz kostanjevih gozdov), an award-winning debut by director Gregor Božič, has been selected by a group of experts as Slovenia's submission for a nomination for best international feature film award at the 93rd Oscars, set to be held on 25 April 2021.
The Union of the Associations of Slovenian Filmmakers believes that the film, which premiered at the 2019 Toronto International Film Festival, captures a timeless, almost archetypal spirit of Benečija, an area in eastern Italy populated by ethnic Slovenians.
Stories from the Chestnut Woods brings to life a poetic nature of the region, telling the stories of people "who are still defiantly inhabiting the remote borderlands, as well as ubiquitous traces and memories of all those who have already left in pursuit of their wish for a better tomorrow", reads the justification.
Božič's debut is an outstanding work boasting brilliant cinematography, scenography and sound effects and creating a dream-like rhythm to depict a specific area, said the experts. It speaks to the universal need in individuals to leave places frozen in time, they added.
"Božič displays a mature and at the same time fresh and in-depth understanding of film narrative, a characteristic seldom seen in debut films."
Stories from the Chestnut Woods, a Slovenian-Italian co-production, written by Božič and Marina Gumzi, also the film's producer, was filmed between 2012 and 2019. It is a fusion of dreams, phantasms and recollections portraying a disintegration of a small community near the Slovenian-Italian border after the Second World War.
The film bagged most Vesna Awards last year, Slovenian equivalents to Oscars, including the award for best film, best director and the audience's darling.
It also recently won the jury prize for best film at the Nara International Film Festival in Japan as well as the critics prize at the CinEast festival of Eastern and Central European film in Luxembourg.
RTV Slovenia currently has the whole film online, in Slovene with Slovene subtitles