Director Markus Imhoof’s refugee drama will compete with other films for a place on the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ shortlist for the coveted prize. 

The documentary follows the current refugee crisis in the Mediterranean, starting from the point of view of a 14-year-old refugee girl adopted by the director’s family during World War II.

“Markus Imhoof has produced an engaging documentary, which deals with today’s global humanitarian crisis by linking it with his personal story. Going beyond the images that travel around the world every day, ‘Eldorado’ is a shocking drama that cannot be overlooked,” the five-person Swiss jury said in a statement clarifying its selection.

The film has been widely praised by critics. “Markus Imhoof’s Eldorado is a deeply felt documentary essay on Europe’s refugee question,” wrote Peter Bradshaw in the Guardian.

“In the sincerely felt ‘Eldorado’ veteran Swiss filmmaker Markus Imhoof easily staves off “just another refugee doc” shrugs with the unusual personal scope of his study,” wrote Variety in a review.

The feature was co-produced by Thelma Film in Switzerland, zero one Film in Germany, Swiss Radio and Television and Bavarian Broadcasting. International sales are handled by Berlin-based Films Boutique.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ shortlist for the Best Foreign Film Oscar will be announced on January 19th, 2019. The Oscars ceremony will take place in the Dolby Theater in Los Angeles on February 24th next year.

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