Brotherhood among Canadian 2020 Oscar nominees

The Tunisia/Canada copro is up for Live Action Short, while Toronto filmmaker Sami Khan's short doc St. Louis Superman also picked up a nomination.
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Meryam Joobeur’s short film Brotherhood (pictured) has been nominated for an Academy Award for Live-Action Short Film.

The Tunisia/Canada copro written and directed by Joobeur, follows the story of a Tunisian father who must choose between his moral principles and his loyalty to his family. It is produced by Quebec prodco Midi La Nuit and Tunisia’s Cinétéléfilms.

“This moment resonates beyond just my life and filmmaking, as a first nomination for my country of origin Tunisia,” said Joobeur in a statement to Playback Daily. “I want to especially thank the Quebec, Tunisian and the international film community for supporting the creation of Brotherhood, a film shot in one of those small forgotten places in the world yet managed to speak beyond borders.”

“This is completely surreal. So many people worked so hard and gave so much love to Brotherhood,” said producer Maria Garcia Turgeon.  “It really was a passion project and it makes me proud to see it resonate the way it has.”

Brotherhood premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2018, winning the award for Canadian short film and was named among TIFF’s Canadian Top Ten shorts that year. It went on to screen at Sundance Film Festival in 2019.

Toronto-based filmmaker Sami Khan also received a nomination in the Documentary Short Subject category for St. Louis Superman. Khan co-directed and produced the short for Al Jazeera English’s docuseries Witness. It follows Ferguson, Mo. activist and rapper Bruce Franks Jr., who was elected to the Missouri House of Representatives as a Democrat in 2016.

Joker, which was co-financed by Vancouver and Toronto-based Bron Studios, led with 11 Oscar nominations this year, including Best Picture, Best Director for Todd Phillips and Best Actor for star Joaquin Phoenix. The Bron-backed feature Bombshell also picked up three nominations, two for actors Charlize Theron and Margot Robbie and one for makeup and hairstyling.

Additional Canadian nominees among the 24 categories include Dean DeBlois, who wrote and directed Animated Feature nominee How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World; Paul Massey, nominated for Achievement in Sound Mixing for Ford v. Ferrari, the same category he won last year for Bohemian Rhapsody; and Dennis Gassner, nominated for his production design work for 1917.

The 2020 Oscars award ceremony will air on Feb. 9 — two weeks earlier than usual, following concerns over a decline in TV ratings in 2018.