Archive for September 2017

Philippines’ 90th Oscar Submission: Birdshot   2 comments

BirdshotThe Film Academy of the Philippines, in charge of choosing the submission for the Academy Awards, has announced earlier today that Mikhail Red’s Birdshot is the official entry of the country for the 90th Oscars. Birdshot bested seven other movies (Die Beautiful by Jun Lana; 1st SEM by Dexter Hernandez and Allan Ibanez; Ang Araw sa Likod Mo by Dominic Nuesa; Kita Kita by Sigfrid Bernardo; Ang Manananggal sa Unit 23B by Prime Cruz; Patay na si Hesus by Victor Villanueva; Triptiko by Miguel Franco Micelena; and Sunday Beauty Queen by Baby Ruth Villarama) in the process.

Birdshot is the first submission from 25-year old director Mikhail Red, son of Raymond Red, Cannes winning director for his short film Anino. The film premiered at the Tokyo International Film Festival, was the opening film for this year’s Cinemalaya Independent Film Festival, and a winner at the Pista ng Pelikulang Pilipino last month.

The film tells the story of a young Filipino teenage girl who wanders into the boundaries of a Philippines reservation forest. Deep within the reservation, she mistakenly shoots and kills a critically endangered and protected Philippine eagle. As local authorities begin a manhunt to track down the poacher of a national bird, their investigation leads them to an even more horrific discovery. The film stars John Arcilla, Arnold Reyes, and newcomer Mary Joy Apostol.

How will Birdshot fare in the Oscar game? As for starters, it’s already competing against much high-profile films including Palme d’Or winner The Square from Sweden and other Cannes entries such as BPM (Beats Per Minute) from France, Germany’s In the Fade, Russia’s Loveless, and Austria’s Happy End. There are also other high profile contenders such as Chile’s A Fantastic Woman, Israel’s Foxtrot, Denmark’s You Disappear, and Cambodia’s First They Killed my Father directed by Oscar winner Angelina Jolie. In this regard, we’re lacking way, way behind to be noticed. Four of the last six winners in this category debuted at Cannes, one from Venice, and the other one from Toronto. We really need to put it out there/

That said, the local studio handling this is TBA Productions, also the people behind our 2015 submission Heneral Luna. While the film was not nominated nor did it advance in the shortlist, they’re a team that can use previous experience to their advantage and partner with an international distributor to assist them with their Oscar campaign.

It also helps that the film has this Western appeal, something that will not be hard for the committee to like and appreciate. This has always been a “barricade” of some sort of many of our previous entries from Anak in 2000 to Ang Babae sa Septic Tank in 2011. Birdshot is a movie that can appeal both to middlebrow and highbrow movie fans, so it can be in the running for both the popular vote and the committee save. It’s also difficult to crack how the committee save will be chosen. As per a source last year, the three “saved” films were Australia’s Tanna, Switzerland’s My Life as a Courgette, and Germany’s Toni Erdmann.

When I wrote about my potential Oscar submission analysis a few weeks ago, I predicted that it will either be Die Beautiful, Pauwi Na, or Birdshot that will be chosen as the Oscar submission. All of these will be decent picks, but it’s a year that’s tough for the country to penetrate and get that elusive Oscar nomination.

Maybe 2018 will be better for us.

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Posted September 26, 2017 by Nicol Latayan in Awards, Films

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