Ireland Selects Viva for 2016 Foreign Language Oscar

The Irish Film & Television Academy (IFTA) has selected the feature film Viva as Ireland’s submission for the Foreign Language category at the 88th annual Academy Awards of Motion Pictures, Arts and Sciences.

Directed by Paddy Breathnach (I Went Down), and produced by Rebecca O’Flanagan and Rob Walpole of Treasure Films (The Stag), ‘Viva’ was written by Mark O’Halloran (Garage, Adam and Paul) and premiered to critical acclaim at the Telluride Film Festival earlier this month with The Hollywood Reporter calling it a “genuine crowd pleaser”.

Set in Havana Cuba, Viva tells the story of Jesus, an eighteen year old Cuban, who is lost and struggling to realize his true identity. Unsure of himself or his future, he works at a local Havana drag club where he entertains dreams of becoming a performer. At home he finds solace listening to the records his mother and grandmother left him: romantic torch songs by the great names of Latin music. Into his life, however, comes a force to challenge his direction and tentative freedom: his long lost father, a celebrated boxer, released from a 15 year prison term having killed someone in a street brawl when Jesus was a child. Through this uneasy relationship, ‘Viva’ becomes a tender love story between father and son as both men struggle to understand each other and escape the burden of expectation, duty and past sins.

The project is supported by the Irish Film Board, Windmill Lane Pictures, RTÉ and Treasure Entertainment. It is produced by Robert Walpole and Rebecca O'Flanagan (both of Treasure Entertainment), Cathleen Dore and Nelson Navarro Navarro of Island Films. The film was shot in Havana, Cuba, and Ireland and was post produced at Windmill Lane in Dublin. The film was scored by Stephen Rennicks, edited by Stephen O’Connell and shot by Cathal Watters with Paki Smith serving as Production Designer.

Áine Moriarty – IFTA CEO said:

“The Irish Academy is delighted that this wonderful film from Paddy Breathnach and Mark O’Halloran will represent Ireland for consideration in the Oscar Foreign Language category – as it reflects the diverse creativity and vision of this Irish team in bringing such a tender Cuban story to the screen that is both intriguing and visually captivating.”

Paddy Breathnach - Director of Viva said:

"I'm thrilled that Viva has been chosen as the Irish entry for Best Foreign Language film in the Academy Awards. We loved every minute of our adventure on this film which took us from Ireland to Cuba and back again. As well as our wonderful Irish team, we had the pleasure of working with a great Cuban cast and crew and I feel this nomination recognizes this incredible international collaboration."

Mark O'Halloran - Writer of Viva said:

"I am very proud and honoured that Viva has been chosen. It has been a pleasure to work on this project in both Cuba and Ireland and I'm delighted that it is receiving this recognition."

Rebecca O’Flanagan & Rob Walpole (Treasure Films) "We are so proud that Viva has been selected as the Irish entry for the Foreign Language Oscar. The film's journey to date has been a real labour of love and it makes us all so happy to receive this very special recognition".

  • Directed by - Paddy Breathnach
  • Screenplay by - Mark O’Halloran
  • Produced by - Rebecca O’Flanagan, Robert Walpole
  • Producer - Cathleen Dore, Nelson Navarro
  • Co-Producer - Claire McCaughley, Sarah Gunn
  • Executive Producer – Benicio Del Toro
  • Director of Photography - Cathal Watters
  • Film Editor - Stephen O’Connell
  • Production Designer - Paki Smith
  • Costume Designer - Sofia Marques
  • Casting Director - Libia Batista
  • Music by - Stephen Rennicks

Principal Cast

  • Angel - Jorge Perugorría
  • Mama - Luis Alberto García
  • Jesus - Héctor Medina
  • Cindy - Luis Manuel Álvarez
  • Pamela - Renata (Maikel Machín Blanco)
  • Cecilia - Laura Alemán

On Jan 14 2016, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) will announce which films have been nominated from all of the international entries to go forward in the final line-up to compete for the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film.

The Academy Awards will take place on Feb 28th 2016.