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Paula Hernández is an Argentinean actress, screenwriter and film director. PHOTOGRAPHY: The Sleepwalkers
Paula Hernández is an Argentinean actress, screenwriter and film director. Photo: The Sleepwalkers

Argentine drama 'The Sleepwalkers' selected for 93rd Academy Awards

Paula Hernández continues her rise and becomes the second Argentine woman director nominated for an Oscar.

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Navigating the dense border between thriller and family drama with intense staging and careful photography was one of the keys that got Paula Hernández's The Sleepwalkers nominated for the 93rd Academy Awards. With the nomination, she has become the representative of Argentina and the second woman director from her country, after María Luisa Bemberg, to achieve the feat.

Paula Hernández (Buenos Aires, 1969) studied at the Universidad de Cine de Buenos Aires and burst onto the scene with her first film in 2001. That recognition grew again seven years later with Lluvia.

In 2011, she adapted Sergio Bizzio's story, Un amor, in an exploration of romantic drama. With The Sleepwalkers, she returned to the genre to dissect the family side of affections and the chains implicit in family relationships.

The film shined at festivals in San Sebastian, Chicago and Havana.

The Sleepwalkers was filmed in October and November of 2018 and released in Argentina in September of the following year. It follows a summer family vacation and the relationship between a mother and her teenage daughter and sleepwalker that bounces back and forth between other family members until it explodes in their hands. At its core, the film investigates the pathologies of motherhood.

This drama is produced by fellow Argentine Tarea Fina in collaboration with Uruguayan company Oriental Features and includes an experienced cast with the likes of Erica Rivas (Wild Tales), Luis Ziembrowski (Anatomy of a Crime), Daniel Hendler (The Moneychanger), Marilú Marini (Trouble Every Day), and the budding star, Ornella D'Elía, who participated in the recording when she was only 15.

The director, who according to Infonews was at the Mar de Plata Festival presenting a new film called Las Siamesas when she found out, thanked all the participants for their collaboration, and the opportunity to represent Argentina outside of a major production company. 

"It has an absolutely independent structure in its possibility of being made and it is very comforting the whole journey it had," said Hernández

For the moment, she is nominated and will have to wait until mid-March, if the pandemic allows it, to see if it turns into something even more magical.

In any case, the nomination is a serious recognition of quality independent film production with international ambitions and one of the Latin American directors with a vision for the future.

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