Oscars 2024: Chile Selects ‘The Settlers’ for Best International Feature Race

Oscars 2024: Chile Selects ‘The Settlers’ for Best International Feature Race

Chile has picked its 2024 Oscar contender, selecting Felipe Gálvez’s critically acclaimed anti-colonialist western The Settlers for the awards race in the best international feature category.

The drama, which premiered in Cannes Un Certain Regard section this year, explores the massacre of Indigenous tribes at the hands of Spanish landowners in 19th century Chile. A critical hit, the film won the international film critics’ Fipresci prize.

The Settlers will have its North American premiere at the Toronto Film Festival next month. Mubi has domestic rights and will release the film theatrically in North America. Mubi also snatched up distribution rights for the UK, Latin America, Turkey, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Italy, Benelux, and India.

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The story of The Settlers follows three horsemen — a young Chilean mestizo, an American mercenary, and led by a reckless British lieutenant — hired by a wealthy Chilean landowner to mark out the perimeter of his extensive property and open a route to the Atlantic Ocean across vast Patagonia. The expedition soon turns into a “civilizing” raid as the group begins to massacre Chile’s native peoples to make way for the expansion of their paymaster’s agricultural empire.

Pablo Larraín’s political docudrama No was the first Chilean film to be nominated for a best international feature Oscar, in 2012, and the first Oscar win for Chile came with Sebastián Lelio’s transgender drama A Fantastic Woman in 2017. Maite Alberdi and Marcela Santibáñez’s The Mole Agent, a documentary following an 83-year-old who goes undercover in a Chilean nursing home, made the best international feature shortlist but was not nominated in that category, though it did score an Oscar nomination for best documentary.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will announce the films on the 2024 Oscar shortlist on Dec. 21. The five nominees will be announced on Jan. 23. The 95th Oscars will be held at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles on March 10.