The British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA), the agency responsible for the UK's Oscar submissions, has chosen Filipino language crime drama Metro Manila (photo), written by Frank E Flowers (Haven) and director Sean Ellis (The Broken), as the country's entry to the Best Foreign Language Film Academy Awards category.
Metro Manila follows Oscar Ramirez and his family, who, seeking a better life, decide to move from the poverty-stricken rice fields of the Northern Philippine mountain ranges and journey towards the capital mega city of Manila. Upon arriving in the big city, it isn't long before they fall foul of various city inhabitants whose manipulative ways are a daily part of city survival. Jake Macapagal (Shackled), Althea Vega (Diablo) and John Arcilla (El Presidente) star.
The UK's Chocolate Frog Films produced the film that is entirely set in the Philippines. The UK entering Metro Manila would not have been possible in the past. In 2002, India-set Hindi language The Warrior, starring Irrfan Khan (Life Of Pi), and directed by Asif Kapadia (Senna), was the UK entry. The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences rejected it on the grounds that the film was not set in the UK and Hindi, though spoken widely by the South Asian immigrant population, was not a language native to the country. The rules were amended in 2005. The Warrior won two BAFTAs.
Metro Manila won the World Cinema Audience Award at Sundance 2013. Independent Distribution releases the film in the UK on September 20. A-Film Benelux MSD have Benelux rights, Haut et Court France, and Vertigo Media Kft Hungary.
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