Oscar 2014: Accused is Netherlands Entry for Foreign Language

The feature film Accused (original title: Lucia de B.), directed by Paula van der Oest, has been chosen as the official entry from the Netherlands to the Academy’s Best Foreign Language Film Award.

For Paula van der Oest this is the second time one of her films will be the Dutch submission for the Oscars. In 2002 Zus & Zo was nominated but did not win. In the past fifty years eight Dutch films have been nominated, three of which took home the coveted award: The Assault (De aanslag) in 1986, Antonia’s Line (Antonia) in 1995 and Character (Karakter) in 1997.

Accused, starring Ariane Schluter, Sallie Harmsen, Barry Atsma, Fedja van Huêt and Annet Malherbe, has recently been released on dvd, blue-ray and video-on-demand, after a successful run in national theatres – achieving the ‘Golden Film’-status. Fortissimo Films handles world-wide sales excluding Benelux. The film has been sold to Latin-America, Sweden, Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Macedonia, and Lithuania. More deals are being negotiated. Many international film festivals have also expressed interest in hosting the film’s international premiere. At the Netherlands Film Festival, taking place from 24 September until 3 October in Utrecht, the film is in the race for the UPC Audience Award 2014.

Based on a true story. Forty year old Nurse Lucia de Berk (Ariane Schluter) has been present at one inexplicable death too many, and the hospital alerts the police. Young Assistant District Attorney Judith (Sallie Harmsen), driven by ambition and genuinely outraged, gets stuck in and Lucia, ‘Angel of Death’, is sentenced to life in prison. But something keeps troubling Judith, and she discovers inconsistencies in witness statements, and even the suppression of lab evidence. Ignored by her superiors, Judith teams up with Lucia’s lawyer, but at every appeal the original guilty verdict is confirmed. Things look bleak until they get the media involved and the biggest miscarriage of justice in Dutch history is finally reversed.

Paula van der Oest (Black Butterflies, The Domino Effect) directed the thriller, based on the true story of Lucia de Berk. The screenplay was written by Moniek Kramer in collaboration with Tijs van Marle.

Rinkel Film (Cool Kids Don’t Cry, Süskind) produced the film, together with broadcaster NCRV, Filmkreatörerna (Sweden), Living Stone (Belgium) and Lucil Film (Luxemburg). The film was financed by the Netherlands Film Fund, the CoBO Fund, the NCRV, the Swedish Film Institute, and the Belgian Tax Shelter. Benelux distribution is handled by Independent Films.

The nominations in all categories for the Academy Awards will be announced on 15 January 2015. The 87th Oscars Ceremony will take place 22 February 2015.