Europa: Haider Rashid’s Refugee Thriller is Iraq’s Contender for the Best International Feature Oscar

Iraq has selected Haider Rashid’s refugee thriller Europa as its contender for the Best International Feature for the 94th Academy Awards.

The film by Italy-based Rashid was partly financed by Iraq’s Ministry of Culture.

Europa concerns a young Iraqi man, Kamal, who is caught by the police after entering Europe through the border between Turkey and Bulgaria.

He manages to escape into a wild forest underworld, only to become wounded by Bulgarian migrant hunters. Alone in the forest, Kamal has three days to escape them.

World premiering at the 2021 Cannes Film Fest, in the Director’s Fortnight section, Europa has already secured Italian distribution (I Wonder); U.K. distribution (Bulldog Film Distribution); and an Eastern and Central European broadcast outlet (HBO).

It is seeking a U.S. distributor.

After the film’s British premiere at the Edinburgh Film Fest, Rashid said: “Everything that’s in the film was either told to us in first person accounts or by human rights lawyers, former public officials or we discussed with some human rights organizations and had access to their reports.”

“So we tried to be as close as possible to reality. We had to build a story with a structure but pretty much everything that takes place in the film is coming from real life. It’s a journey that takes place every day.

And now with the situation in Afghanistan it’s going to be even worse” and Pedro Fernandes Duarte with financial support from Portugal’s Institute of Cinema and Audiovisual, Portuguese public broadcaster RTP and the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation.

The film revolves around family loss, Vasconcelos explains: “My father lost his mother early and I lost mine when I was 17. In a way we were both semi-orphaned.”