Two films featuring Filipino actors have been fielded as entries to the Best Foreign Language Film category of the 86th Academy Awards.
Crime drama Metro Manila, starring John Arcilla and Jake Macapagal, will represent the U.K. in the Oscars derby.
Meanwhile, the family drama Ilo Ilo will represent Singapore in the Best Foreign Language Film category at the Oscars next year.
PINOY ARMORED-TRUCK DRIVERS. Helmed by British director Sean Ellis, Metro Manila stars John Arcilla, Jake Macapagal, and Althea Vega.
Sean is an Oscar-nominated director who helmed Metro Manila even though he does not understand Tagalog.
In an interview with The Guardian, director Sean revealed that he got the idea for the movie when he went to Manila to visit a friend.
He was quoted as saying: "I didn't know anything about the place. I was quite blown away. It felt very vibrant and rich. It's one of the few places left where you can still get a culture shock—it took me a while to get used to seeing traffic wardens with shotguns. And while I was there, I witnessed this scene: two armoured-truck drivers having an argument by their vehicle. It ended with one of them kicking the truck, then they drove off."
In the film, Jake and Althea are a married couple who leave behind farming in the rice terraces to try their luck in the chaotic city of Metro Manila.
Jake's character finds a job as an armored-truck driver where he is eventually blackmailed by John Arcilla.
The British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) was the organization that chose Metro Manila as the U.K. entry.
Last January, Metro Manila won the Audience Award for Best World Dramatic Film at the Sundance Film Festival.
In Justin Lowe's review for The Hollywood Reporter, he writes: "The mean streets of Manila have some tough lessons for a recently arrived couple in Sean Ellis' observant feature."
Metro Manila will be shown in U.K. cinemas starting September 20. It is slated to open in Philippine cinemas by October 9.
PINAY NANNY IN ILO ILO. Meanwhile, the family drama Ilo Ilo will represent Singapore in the Best Foreign Language Film category at the Oscars next year.
Directed by Singaporean filmmaker Anthony Chen, Ilo Ilo is about a middle-class Singaporean family affected by the 1997 Asian financial crisis.
The parents hire a Filipino nanny (portrayed by Angeli Bayani) to bring their rowdy son under control.
According to its official website, Ilo Ilo "chronicles the relationship between a family of three and their newly arrived Filipino maid, Teresa (played by Angeli) who has come like many other Filipino women in search of a better life."
The film was awarded the prestigious Camera d'Or (Best First Feature Film) and received a 15-minute standing ovation at the 66th Cannes Film Festival.
According to the website of Singapore-based The Straits Times Communities, it was the Singapore Film Commission advisory committee that chose Ilo Ilo for the Oscars. The same publication also quoted the director of the commission, Mr. Yeo Chun Cheng, as saying that Ilo Ilo was chosen "for its excellence in execution and performance, accentuated by a thought-provoking storyline."
PHILIPPINE ENTRY TO THE OSCARS. The Cinemalaya entry Transit was chosen by the Film Academy of the Philippines as the Philippine entry to the Best Foreign Language category of the 86th Academy Awards.
Directed by Hannah Espia and produced by Paul Soriano, Transit stars Jasmine Curtis Smith, Irma Adlawan, Ping Medina, Mercedes Cabral, and Marc Justine Alvarez.
PEP.ph (Philippine Entertainment Portal) previously reported why the FAP special committee chose Transit over other Filipino movies.
Shot in Israel, Transit is about a Filipino family affected by an Israeli law that threatens to deport children of migrant workers.
Starting December 27, members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences will begin voting while the final Academy award nominations will be announced by January 16, 2014.
The 86th Academy Awards will take place on March 2, 2014.