Croatia has selected Antonio Nuić’s Mali as its submission in the international feature category for the 2020 Academy Awards.
The drama centers on Frenki, a drug dealer who has just been released from prison after serving a four-year sentence. His son, Mali, is a teenager finishing primary school, while his wife, Martina, is dying of cancer in a hospital. Frenki faces a court battle with Mali’s maternal grandparents over custody of his son.
Mali premiered at the Pula Film Festival in Croatia in July 2018 and collected the Big Golden Arena Award for the best film in the national competition, as well as the Croatian Society of Film Critics’ award. It later screened at the Sarajevo Film Festival and had a theatrical release in Croatia in February.
Mali is Nuić’s fifth feature. His Kenjac (Donkey) was Croatia’s Oscar submission in 2009.
Since it became an independent state in 1992, Croatia has regularly entered films in the best international feature Oscar race, but it has yet to receive a nomination.