"Donsol" to represent the Philippines at the Oscars

by Jocelyn Dimaculangan
Sep 21, 2007
Sid Lucero and Angel Aquino star in the Grade "A" movie Donsol, which will vie for a slot in the Foreign Language Film category of the 80th Annual Academy Awards.

A love story set in the picturesque province of Donsol, Sorsogon, is the official Philippine entry to the 80th Annual Academy Awards to be held in February 2008. Starring Angel Aquino and Sid Lucero, Donsol has been chosen to vie for the Oscar award in the Best Foreign Language Film category.

The directorial debut of Adolf Alix, Jr. premiered during the 2006 Cinemalaya Philippine Independent Film Festival where it won Best Cinematography and Best Actress for Angel Aquino.

Donsol tells the story of two people who meet and fall in love at a time when the butanding (whale sharks) visit Sorsogon, which is located at the southeastern part of the Bicol Peninsula. Teresa (Angel) is a breast cancer patient who becomes attracted to Daniel (Sid), a Butanding Interaction Officer who guides tourists in the province.

This indie film features the parallelisms between the two characters' love story and the migration patterns of the whale sharks. Locally known as butanding, whale sharks are migratory animals that frequent the turquoise waters of this province from November to May.

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During the story conference of his latest film Nars held last night, September 20, at the Thompson Square in Tomas Morato Ave, Quezon City, Adolf gladly told PEP (Philippine Entertainment Portal) the good news.

"Nalaman ko lang yesterday na ang official submission ng Philippines for the Academy Awards for the Foreign Language Film is Donsol. Actually, nakakatuwa. Hindi ko in-expect. Medyo in the middle nga ako of two films, nagpo-post-production ako ng Tambolista [for Cinema One Originals] and itong Nars mag-i-start na sa Saturday so in between may magandang news lang," says an overwhelmed Adolf.

"Ang daming films na magaganda last year and worthy rin sila pero noong nalaman ko na Donsol ang ipapadala, tuwang-tuwa ako. It's a long shot pero wala namang mawawala, e," says the director with optimism. "May mga requirements na kailangan munang i-submit. Aayusin ko muna."

Adolf said that his film was able to pass the preliminary requirements for short-listing. "Actually, may 35mm ang Donsol, which is one of the requisites for the Oscars. Kailangan rin at least one week ka nag-run sa theaters," he says. In fact, Star Cinema screened Donsol for two weeks starting November 29, 2006. ABS-CBN's film production company is the local distributor of the film and Adolf is in the middle of negotiating with a U.S. distributor.

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"For Donsol, which is first film ko, nakakatuwa kasi one year ago na pero nakakatuwa na napapansin pa rin nila," he gushes. The director doesn't know how many entries were considered for the Oscars but he did point out that Eddie Romero, the National Artist for Film headed the selection committee.

"Nagbuo sila ng selection committee, I think yung head si Eddie Romero. Nagbuo sila ng selection committee to choose the Filipino entry to the Oscars. Then sa Oscars, yung voting members. Medyo long shot kasi madaming members yun and you have to send promotional materials," he explains.

Last year, a total of 61 countries submitted films for consideration in the Foreign Language Film category for the 79th Academy Awards, including the country's Ang Pagdadalaga ni Maximo Oliveros (The Blossoming of Maximo Oliveros) directed by Auraeus Solito.

On January 22, the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences will select the five nominees for the 2008 Foreign Language Oscar. The Academy Awards will be presented February 24, 2008.

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Sid Lucero and Angel Aquino star in the Grade "A" movie Donsol, which will vie for a slot in the Foreign Language Film category of the 80th Annual Academy Awards.
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