Sean Ellis got his first Oscar nomination in 2004 for his short film “Cashback” in the Academy’s Best Short Film, Live Action category. Next year, the British director is gunning for another Oscar nomination as the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) has selected his tagalog film “Metro Manila” as United Kingdom’s official entry to the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar.
Since most films from the United Kingdom are in the English language, they are eligible in the major categories of the Academy Awards (i.e. “The English Patient,” “The King’s Speech”). And since the Academy lifted the rule in the Best Foreign Language Category that films should be in the official language of the submitting country in 2006, U.K. has also been submitting to this category as well. And this year, Ellis’ “Metro Manila,” a full-length tagalog film shot on location in the Philippines with Filipino cast and crew members, was selected.
During the press conference for “Metro Manila” on Monday, September 30, at Anabel Restaurant in Quezon City, Ellis explained why BAFTA chose “Metro Manila” as UK’s official Foreign Language Film entry.
“I believe we are the 7th film to be submitted by the UK in history. They send the one that they hope is going to have the best chances of winning. Its a competition, and their primary factor in choosing the entry is that is should be competitive. They don’t send to promote languages, it must be competitive…’Metro Manila’ is not only in foreign language, but it’s also poetic, emotional film,” he said.
“Metro Manila” stars theater actors Jake Macapagal and John Arcilla, and rising Indie film actress Althea Vega.
Here is the synopsis of the film:
Seeking a better life, Oscar Ramirez (Jake Macapagal) and his family decide to move from the poverty stricken rice fields of the Northern Philippine mountain ranges, and journey towards the capital mega city of Metro Manila. Upon arriving in the big city, Oscar and his family fall foul to various city inhabitants whose manipulative ways are a daily part of city survival.
Oscar manages to land a job as a driver for an armored truck company and is befriended by Ong, his senior officer. Before long, it becomes apparent that Ong, has been planning the arrival of someone just like Oscar for some time.
“Metro Manila” had its world premiere at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival last January where it won the Audience Award in the World Cinema Dramatic category.
Released and distributed by Captive Cinema, the film will screen in Philippine Cinemas on October 9, 2013.