Film Academy of the Philippines looks ahead to Oscars
FAP committee to select entry for next year's Foreign-Language Film category

FOR CONSIDERATION. Erik Matti's 'OTJ.' Image courtesy of ABS-CBN

MANILA, Philippines – This early, people are already talking about the Oscars – and what film would the Film Academy of the Philippines choose to be its representative to the Academy Awards’ Foreign-Language Film category?

9 films made it to the FAP’s short list of contenders for the official Philippine nominee to the said category in the 86th Academy Awards.

According to FAP director-general Leo Martinez, the final selection will be made by a special 8-man committee, whose members are Peque Gallaga (chairman), FAP deputy director-general Robert Arevalo, Directors Guild of the Philippines secretary Jose N. Carreon, Philippine Motion Picture Directors’ Association president William Mayo, Production Designers Guild of the Philippines president Manny Morfe, United Film Editors Guild of the Philippines president Jess Navarro, director Elwood Perez, and actress-director Gina Alajar of the Actors Guild.

Another try

“Oscar Award rules for the best foreign-language film category stipulate that to qualify, the Philippine entry must have been commercially exhibited in the country for at least 7 consecutive days during the period from October, 2012 to September, 2013,” the FAP said in a statement.

“A Filipino must be in two of the 3 capacities as film producer, director, or scriptwriter.”

The committee has been selecting the Philippines’ annual entry to the Oscars since 1996. It will meet on September 14 to deliberate on its short list.

But in the course of its long participation in the Oscars process, the Philippines has already submitted 23 films for consideration in the Foreign-Language Film category, although the country has yet to secure a nomination in the final selection.

Films that were submitted since 1956 are “Genghis Khan,” “Anak Dalita,” “The Moises Padilla Story,” “Dahil sa Isang Bulaklak,” “Ganito Kami Noon… Paano Kayo Ngayon?,” “Karnal,” “Bayan Ko: Kapit Sa Patalim,” “Inagaw Mo ang Lahat sa Akin,” “Segurista,” “Milagros,” “Sa Pusod ng Dagat,” “Saranggola,” “Anak,” “Gatas… sa Dibdib ng Kaaway,” “Mga Munting Tinig,” “Dekada ’70,” “Crying Ladies,” “Ang Pagdadalaga ni Maximo Olivares,” “Donsol,” “Ploning,” “Ded na si Lolo,” “Noy,” “Ang Babae sa Septic Tank,” and “Bwakaw.”

Many of these films have been well received in other festivals and film forums abroad, notably Manuel Conde’s recently restored “Genghis Khan,” a breezy, almost farcical take on the Mongol ruler that became a hit when it was shown at the prestigious Venice Film Festival in 1952.

READ: Britain, Japan, US tipped to win Venice festival

That decade is broadly regarded as the first glorious period of Philippine cinema. It was around this time when the renowned film director Josef von Sternberg was asked at a cocktail party what interesting films he had seen lately. He replied, “A Filipino film whose title escapes me,” prompting his audience’s laughter. But von Sternberg said he wasn’t joking.

GLORY DAYS. Conde (right) with the great film director Fritz Lang and actress Erlinda Cortes. Photo from The Urian Anthology 1970-79

The FAP said it may still consider other films running until September, including the entries in the recent Cinemalaya Film Festival and the film-screening festival Sineng Pambansa, which begins September 11.

Here are the 9 films in the FAP’s short list:

1, “Boses” (directed by Ellen Ongkeko-Marfil)

2. “Dance of the Steel Bars” (directed by Cesar Apolinario and Marnie Manicad)

3. “El Presidente” (directed by Mark Meily)

4. “Ekstra: The Bit Player” (directed by Jeffrey Jeturian)

5. “OTJ: On The Job” (directed by Erik Matti)

6. “Supremo” (directed by Richard Somes)

7. “Tiktik: The Aswang Chronicles” (directed by Erik Matti)

8.  “Tuhog” (directed by Veronica Velasco)

9. “Thy Womb” (directed by Brillante Mendoza)


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