A hard-hitting new film about the U.S. invasion of Panama has been picked as that country's first Oscars submission.

Abner Benaim's documentary Invasion, about U.S. troops' efforts to extract General Manuel Noriega from power in 1989, features no archive footage, and relies on the memories of Panamanian citizens.

The director, who is hoping to land a Best Foreign Film nomination in January (15), has scored a series of firsts during his short filmmaking career - his movie Chance was the first Panamanian production in over 60 years and it beat James Cameron's Avatar at the domestic box office in 2009.

Invasion won both the Best Documentary Audience Award and the Mastercard Central America and Caribbean Audience Award at the Panama International Film Festival.