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Hit Paraguay movie to miss out on Oscars

7 Boxes was seen by more people in Paraguay than Hollywood blockbuster Titanic

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Paraguay’s most successful movie of all time will miss out on a chance to win an Oscar because the country doesn’t have a selection committee recognised by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

Tana Schembori, the director of “7 Boxes” — seen by more people in this South American country than Hollywood blockbuster “Titanic” — said that culture officials had called for the creation of such a panel and asked the academy to make an exception in the meantime.

But, according to a spokesman for the production, this did not happen.

“Unfortunately, this exception was not granted,” said Macarena Galindo.

The film, which premiered in the capital Asuncion in August, has drawn 250,000 filmgoers, according to the firm Ultracine, which compiles data on film attendance in Latin America. By contrast, “Titanic” attracted 150,000.

“It was really a phenomenon... all cinemas were full,” said entertainment journalist Maripili Alonso.

Set in the country’s busiest market in the capital Asuncion, a metropolis of some 2.5 million people, the movie combines action, suspense and humor.

The storyline centers around a teenager named Victor who is offered 100 dollars to transport a mysterious parcel from one section of the market to another.

According to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, countries can submit their best motion picture after its selection is made “by one organization, jury or committee that should include artists and/or craftspeople from the field of motion pictures.”

“A list of the selection committee members must be submitted to the Academy no later than August 1, 2012, except newly formed committees wishing to enter the competition for the first time, which must submit their paperwork to the Academy by April 1, 2012,” it says on its website.

There is still hope however for snagging other high-profile prizes.

The film, which had a budget of $650,000 and has a style similar to that of award-winning hit film “Slumdog Millionaire,” will try to compete for a Golden Globe, said Schembori.

It may also vie for Spain’s Goya Awards in the “Best Latin American Film” category.