4 Belgians join the Oscar Academy


The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS), mostly known for the Oscars, has announced its newest members. 4 Belgians are among the newcomers: directors Dominique Deruddere and Sahim Omar Kalifa, cameraman Jo Willems and editor Marie-Hélène Dozo.

Director Dominique Deruddere received an Oscar nomination in 2001 in the Best Foreign Language film category with Iedereen beroemd! Other movies Deruddere has directed include Crazy Love, Wait Until Spring, Bandini and more recently Flying Home. He is currently living and working in Los Angeles.

Marie-Hélène Dozo is mainly known as the editor of the movies by the Dardenne brothers. Ever since La promesse she has been involved in the duo's movies. Besides the recent movies such as Deux jours, une nuit and La fille inconnue, she was also responsible for the editing of The Diary of a Teenage Girl, a production of the LA production office of the Brussels company Caviar (known for movies such as Black, Paradise Trips and Terug naar morgen).

Bad Hunter, the latest short film by director Sahim Omar Kalifa was shortlisted for last year's Oscars. His short films Land of the Heroes and Baghdad Messi won numerous prizes and distinctions at film festivals all over the world. Meanwhile, Kalifa has produced his first feature film Zagros.

Nowadays cameraman Jo Willems mostly works in the US. He was the director of photography for movies such as The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 and Part 2, and The Hunger Games: Catching Fire. He is currently working in the US on the TV series American Gods.

The 4 new members will run into other Belgians in the Academy. For example editor Nico Leunen (The Broken Circle Breakdown, Belgica, Kid, Lost River, 22 mei) and the directors Michaël R. Roskam (Rundskop) and Felix van Groeningen (The Broken Circle Breakdown) received an invitation during previous rounds.

The list of 683 new members was announced by AMPAS Chairman Cheryl Boone Isaacs. "Our newest members are the continuation of our long-term engagement to welcome exceptional talent representing the movie industry of today". 283 of this year's invitations went to non-Americans from 59 countries; 46% of the newest members are women, 41% are non-white, the youngest new member is 24 years old, the oldest 91. This modernisation is the organisation's answer to the negative 'white man's world' criticism of the American movie industry.

To be selected as a member of AMPAS, a candidate must be supported by 2 members of the Academy who find that he or she 'has achieved something exceptional' or the candidate must have already been nominated for an Oscar.