‘You Won’t Be Alone’ Australia’s submission for Best International Feature Film Oscar

'You Won't Be Alone'. (Credit: Branko Starcevic/Focus Features)

Goran Stolevski’s debut feature You Won’t Be Alone is Australia’s official submission for the Academy Award for Best International Feature Film.

Produced by Causeway Films’ Kristina Ceyton and Samantha Jennings, the supernatural horror, set in 19th century Macedonia, stars Noomi Rapace, Anamaria Marinca, Alice Englert, Carloto Cotta, Félix Maritaud and Sara Klimoska.

It first premiered at Sundance in the World Cinema Dramatic Competition, going on to receive rave reviews, with critics drawing comparisons between Stolevski and filmmakers such as Terrence Malick and Jonathan Glazer.

The film also screened in competition at Sydney Film Festival, won best film at the Bucheon International Fantastic Film Festival and Best Film of the Official Fantástic Competition Selection at Sitges. Variety named Stolevski one of its 10 directors to watch of 2022.

Balkanic Media’s Jonathan English and Natasa Ivic are the film’s co-producers, with Rapace, Phil Hunt, Compton Ross, Stephen Kelliher, Michelle Pearce, Dale Roberts, Jonathan Page, and Bryce Menzies executive producers.

You Won’t Be Alone was submitted to the Academy by a committee of Australian industry professionals convened by Screen Australia.

It is the second time that a Causeway Films project has been Australia’s submission for the award, with Rodd Rathjen’s Buoyancy put forward in 2018.

Speaking to IF, Ceyton said it was a huge honour to have the film receive such a recognition.

“To have been selected for submission to one of the highest accolades there is in our industry and be representing Australia is just wonderful/slightly surreal. It’s of course immensely competitive with another 91 very brilliant films from around the world up for nomination, but it’s great to be in the running and, even at this early stage, to be shining a light on the calibre of our talent and how diverse Australia’s screen stories are,” she said.

“Big thanks to the selection committee for choosing You Won’t Be Alone, and to our investors Screen Australia, VicScreen, Kojo Studios, Bankside Films, Head Gear Films and Michelle Pearce plus Focus Features for their incredible support and our wonderful cast and crew and Serbian co-producers Jonathan English and Natasa Ivic from Balkanic Media.”

Screen Australia CEO Graeme Mason extended congratulations to Stolesvki and Causeways Films.

“After captivating audiences at Sydney and Melbourne film festivals following its world premiere at Sundance, we’re proud to see You Won’t Be Alone represent Australia on the world stage,” he said.

“This mesmerising supernatural tale is testament to the wonderful diversity of contemporary Australian storytelling. We’d also like to thank the Australian International Feature Film Selection Committee for their time and expertise.”

In 2016, Bentley Dean and Martin Butler’s Tanna was nominated for Best Foriegn Language Film alongside A Man Called Ove, Land of Mine, The Salesman and Toni Erdmann

Warwick Thornton’s Samson and Delilah was also shortlisted by the Academy in 2010.

To be eligible for the Best International Feature prize, a film must have been produced outside of the US and more than 50 per cent of the dialogue must be in a language other than English.

You Won’t Be Alone was perhaps the most high profile and surprising snub among last week’s AACTA Award nominations, overlooked in every category.