Belarus broke a 24-year abstinence from the Oscars with its ‘Crystal Swan’ submission. The indie movie will compete in the foreign film category of the Academy Awards.
The first Oscar submission from Belarus since 1994.
Crystal Swan revolves around the life of a young female Belarusian DJ who lives in Minsk in the mid-1990s.
Stuck at the visa application stage Velya dreams of emigrating and finding fame in America’s music scene.
The film is the debut for director Darya Zhuk, who came to the US as a teenager.
Darya studied at Harvard and Columbia Universities and worked with the HBO channel.
She also shot several short films for various prestigious international film festivals.
“I wanted to make something about my generation of Belarusians.
I feel like in the 1990s we all had this dream of going places and it was an important time for us,” Zhuk told Variety.
Filming took place in Belarus with the help of an international film crew.
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It was created jointly with the film companies of Belarus, the US, Germany and Russia.
A first-time director hopes that her success so far will inspire other filmmakers in Belarus.
“I made a film independently, and with Crystal Swan I am saying it is possible to do things differently and retain creative control at the same time,” she told Forbes.
Though her more immediate aspiration is to make the Academy Awards short list for her category, Zhuk said her long-term goal is to forge a lasting career in film and do it her own way.