Viva, a Cuban-set Spanish-language film, which received high-praise at the Telluride Film Festival, where it had its world premiere, has been selected as Ireland’s official entry for the 2015 Foreign Language Film Oscar competition.

While the subject matter, language and location of Viva are far from Irish, the film's director Paddy Breathnach and writer Mark O 'Halloran hail from this fair island, which under Academy rules, deems it eligible for entry by Ireland. 

Speaking about the selection the Irish Film and Television CEO, Aine Moriarty, said: "The Irish Academy is delighted that this wonderful film from Paddy Breathnach and (screenwriter) Mark O’Halloran will represent Ireland for consideration in the Oscar Foreign Language category — as it reflects the diverse creativity and vision of this Irish team in bringing such a tender Cuban story to the screen that is both intriguing and visually captivating.” 

Breathnach, who is best known for his work on for Shrooms (2007), Blow Dry (2001) and I Went Down (1997) added: “We loved every minute of our adventure on this film which took us from Ireland to Cuba and back again. As well as our wonderful Irish team, we had the pleasure of working with a great Cuban cast and crew and I feel this nomination recognises this incredible international collaboration.

Mark O'Halloran is best known for writing and starring in the highly acclaimed movie Adam and Paul (2004). He also made appearances in Irish movies The Guard (2011) and Calvary (2014).

The Academy’s process of screening all Foreign Language film entries begins in October, with the final five nominations announced January 14.