Sunday, 6 October 2013

Metro Manila film finally screening in Manila

Metro Manila poster in Paris
Ever since I saw the posters of the film Metro Manila strewn all over Paris last July, I've been badgering Jake Macapagal to let me know when the film will be released in Manila.

After three months,  the film is finally here and I got the chance to watch it at the prescreening last Thursday, October 3 at SM Aura. :-)

The film is not your typical dark indie film depicting vulnerable, impoverished urban poor and leave you depressed after. It's actually a heart-wrenching thriller about a farmer Oscar Ramirez (played by Jake) who moves to Manila with his family and children to try their luck and ends up getting blackmailed into doing a heist.

At the special screening (from left) Jake Macapagal,
Sean Ellis, John Arcilla
British Sean Ellis must be some wunderkind when he was young for he directed, co-wrote (together with Frank Flowers), co-produced (together with Celine Lopez) and was the sole cinematographer of the film. He said that the idea for the story came about in 2007.  He witnessed two armored truck drivers arguing in the streets in Manila with guns wearing kevlar helmet and one of the guys kicking the truck in frustration.

The film's cast include stage veterans John Arcilla as Ong (the senior officer), Ana Abad-Santos as Ong's wife, Ruben Uy  (co-employee) and indie film actress Althea Vega as Mai Ramirez.
proud of Jake with (from left) Bettina, Vanessa and Jason

The film first premiered on January 20, 2013 at the Sundance Film Festival where it won the Audience Award: World Cinema Dramatic.  Yesterday, the film won the Critics Award at the Hamburg International Film Festival. The film is also the United Kingdom's official  entry for best foreign language film for the  86th Academy Awards.

Incidentally, there are two other Filipino-themed films nominated in the Oscars - Transit  (Philippines) and Ilo Ilo (Singapore).  There are 80 nominees which will then be shortlisted to nine and then the final five will be announced on January 16, 2014. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that this film (and of course Transit) makes it to the final five. The Oscars is set on March 2, 2014.

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