Judy Ann Santos says her film being chosen as Philippine entry for the Oscars is "surreal"

"Yung masabi langna representative ng Pilipinas, sobra-sobrang kaligayahan na yun, e. Yungmasabi na kasama ka sa 18 na finalists, bonggang-bongga na yun. Yung makasamaka sa lima [the Top 5 will be mentioned during the Academy Awards nominations], napakabutikong tao na talaga!" exclaims Judy Ann Santos about the selection of Ploning as the country's entry to the best foreign language film category of the Oscar Awards next year.


Right after dubbing scenes for her upcoming movie Kulam, Judy Ann Santos went straight to A Taste of L.A. Café atRoces Avenue, Quezon City for an intimate interview about the indie movie thatshe starred in and co-produced. Juday and Ploning director Dante NicoGarcia attended the interview yesterday, September 1, to talk about theirperiod film shot in Cuyo, Palawan.

Ploning is officially the Philippine entry to the2009 Oscar Awards' best foreign language film category. Panoramanila PicturesCo.'s movie beat Caregiver, Tribu, and Endo for the honor ofrepresenting the country in the Oscars derby.

Last year, the indie film Donsol was chosen as thePhilippine entry, but it failed to make the cut. The last Filipino film thatwas able to enter the Top 18 entries of the Oscars was the Gil Portes movie MuntingTinig (international title: Small Voices) way back in 2002.



"Mahabang pagkanerbiyos pa ito," says Judy Ann with a smile. "Yung masabi langna representative ng Pilipinas, sobra-sobrang kaligayahan na yun, e. Yungmasabi na kasama ka sa 18 na finalists, bonggang-bongga na yun. Yung makasamaka sa lima [the Top 5 will be mentioned during the Academy Awards nominations], napakabutikong tao na talaga!"

The list of foreign films that will enter the Oscars will be officially released on January 2009.

This is the first time that Judy Ann has tried being aproducer. How was the experience?

"Nagka-calculate nga ako noon then sabi ko, saan ka [profit]nagpunta? Bakit wala ka pa sa piling ko? Parang naligaw ka...pero it's part ofthe sacrifice and risk. Parang isang paa ang ihuhulog mo sa bangin. Parangbahala ka na Lord kung saan ka pupulutin."

PLONING BEATS CAREGIVER. PEP (PhilippineEntertainment Portal) asked Juday's reaction to the news that her film beatSharon Cuneta's Caregiver for the honor of being the country'srepresentative in the 81st edition of the Academy Awards.

"Siyempre, masaya. Hindi na ako na-tense kasi kahit sinonaman sa amin ni Ate [Sharon Cuneta] ang makapasok, malaking bagay na yun, kasiwe don't see each other na ibang tao na talaga. Kung sino man ang makapasok,the mere fact na isa kami sa pinagpilian, ibig sabihin, parehong maganda angpelikula namin. Privilege actually nga sa amin yun, e."

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Three members of the Film Academy of the Philippines votedfor Ploning while two members of the special committee opted for StarCinema's Caregiver.

Direk Dante explained that the next step for them is toraise awareness about the film. There are around 1,000 members of the Academyof Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and they must be able to convince at least300 members to vote for Ploning, so that the film could be included inthe Top 18 films.

ADOPTED CUYONONS. For the movie Ploning, JudyAnn and the rest of the cast members spent three weeks on the island of Cuyolast February. From August 25 to 30, Judy Ann and Beth Tamayo-Wong returned toDirek Dante's hometown to grace the screening of Ploning and to helpimprove the town's hospital. Little did they know that they would becomeadopted daughters of Cuyo.

"In-acknowledge ng Palawan government ang contribution ng Ploningsa culture and history," says Direk Dante. "Noong time kasi na nagsu-shootkami ng Ploning, ini-invite na kami ng Office of the Mayor pero hindikami makapunta kasi siksik yung schedule namin. Yun pala ang balak nila noonpa. Noong time na nagsu-shoot pa lang kami, plano nilang i-adopt na si Judaypero na-delay."

Juday and Beth received plaques of honor from the gratefultown. Juday is very grateful about being adopted as well.

"Siyempre, masayang-masaya ako na finally may probinsiya akona nakikita ko kasi si Daddy taga-Pampanga at si Mommy taga-Bacolod, pero hindiko naman napupuntahan at hindi ako familiar sa surroundings.

"Masaya ang feeling na in-adopt ka dahil malaki angpaniniwala nila sa ‘yo. Nakakataba ng puso na gusto kang ampunin ng mga taongito. Mahaba nga dapat ang speech ko pero naging apat na sentences na lang kasinaiiyak na ako."

Ploning will be screened at Mogwai in Cubao onSeptember 5, 10, 18 and 27, 2008. International screenings of Ploningare scheduled on September 18 to 20 at San Antonio, Texas; September 29-30 at LosAngeles, California; and October 3-4 at San Francisco, California.

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Judy Ann will soon be seen in ABS-CBN's upcoming teleserye HumilingAko sa Langit. It is expected to air in October and will also star DerekRamsey, Will Devaughn, and Rafael Rosell.


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