26 October 2020 The Irish Film & Television Network
‘Viva’ Makes Shortlist for Foreign Language Oscar®
18 Dec 2015 :
‘Viva’ is one of nine features which will advance to the next round of voting in the Foreign Language Film category for the 88th Academy Awards®. Eighty films had originally been considered in the category.

The film, selected by the Irish Film & Television Academy (IFTA) as Ireland’s submission for the Foreign Language category, is 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 has screened to critical acclaim at Telluride, Toronto and Havana Film Festivals, with The Hollywood Reporter calling it a “genuine crowd pleaser”. The film screens at Sundance in January.

"This project was a real labour of love", says producer Robert Walpole, "It seemed like a crazy proposition: a crew of Irish people going to Cuba to tell this story.” O’Flanagan concurs "we had full confidence in Viva from the beginning and it is so thrilling to have that belief acknowledged".

Director Paddy Breathnach says "I'm thrilled to have made the list. Making VIVA was a great and, at times, crazy adventure. I'm so happy that everyone's efforts are getting recognition."

Áine Moriarty – IFTA CEO said: “The Irish Academy is delighted that ‘Viva’ has been shortlisted by the American Academy for consideration for the Foreign Language category. This is a wonderful film from Paddy Breathnach and Mark O’Halloran and Treasure’s Robert Walpole and Rebecca O’Flanagan. Congratulations to everyone involved.”

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 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.

  • Directed by - Paddy Breathnach
  • Screenplay by - Mark O’Halloran
  • Produced by - Rebecca O’Flanagan, Robert Walpole
  • Producers - 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

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 American Academy’s Foreign Language Film nominations for 2015 are being determined in two phases. The shortlist will be winnowed down to the category’s five nominees by specially invited committees in New York, Los Angeles and London. They will spend Friday, January 8, through Sunday, January 10, viewing three films each day and then casting their ballots.

The 88th Academy Awards nominations will be announced live on Thursday, January 14, 2016, at 5:30 a.m. PT at the Academy’s Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills.

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

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