Bwakaw, the official Philippine entry to the 2013 Oscar Awards’ best foreign language film category, faces an uphill battle even as it was included in the eligible submissions of film entries forwarded by 71 countries last October 8.
The film’s producers—Cinemalaya and APT Entertainment—are expected to wage a campaign to enable the AMPAS members who will draw up the short list of nine films and the final five nominees in January next year to view Bwakaw and consider its merits.
Bwakaw was selected by a special committee of the Film Academy as the official nominee or entry of the Philippines to the 85th annual version of the Oscar Awards scheduled on Feb. 24, 2013.
This early, film critics and experts predicting possible winners in the best foreign language film category for the 2013 Oscar Awards mentioned 15 films who are the favorites to grab one of the five final nominations. These are:
Austria’s Amour; France’s The Intouchables; Denmark’s A Royal Affair; Australia’s Lore; Chile’s No;
Canada’s War Witch; Sweden’s The Hypnotist; Portugal’s Blood of My Blood; Israel’s Fill the Void; Switzerland’s Sister;
Belgium’s Our Children; Germany’s Barbara; Romania’s Beyond the Walls; Norway’s Kon Tiki; and Spain’s Blancanieves.
Bwakaw was one of six films in the Directors’ Showcase category of the last Cinemalaya Film Festival. It actually bested seven other films which were also considered for possible nomination by the special committee. Bwakaw had its commercial run starting September 5, 2012.
The committee also previewed Jose Javier Reyes’ Mga Mumunting Lihim, Brillante Mendoza’s Captive, Manila Kingpin: The Asiong Salonga Story, Auraeus Solito’s Busong, John-D Lazatin’s A Mother’s Story, Ron Morales’ Graceland and Joyce Bernal’s Segunda Mano.
The committee, which is chaired by National Artist for Film Director Eddie Romero, has the following members: Director/Actress Gina Alajar; Actor/Director Robert Arevalo, FAP deputy director-general; Director Jose N. Carreon of DGPI; Director William Mayo, president of the Philippine Motion Picture Directors’ Association;
Manny Morfe, president of the Production Designers Guild of the Philippines; Jess Navarro, president of the United Film Editors Guild of the Philippines and Director Elwood Perez.
The 2012 Cinemalaya souvenir program includes this synopsis of Bwakaw:
“Bwakaw is a drama-comedy about growing old, and everyone’s fear of growing old alone. Rene (Eddie Garcia) is a gay man who came out of the closet at age 70. Ailing in his twilight years, he thinks it is now too late for love, even companionship, and that all there is to look forward to is Death. Nowadays the only companion Rene has is Bwakaw, a stray dog that hangs around his house and follows him wherever he goes.
As Rene waits for the day of his death, he gets the surprise of his life when it is Bwakaw who suddenly falls ill and is diagnosed with cancer. In his struggle to get Bwakaw cured, Rene finds comfort in Sol, a tricycle driver who helps him bring Bwakaw to the vet and befriends him. One day, he finally decides to make a move on Sol. The revelation that Rene is gay and has feelings for him surprises and disgusts Sol. In the meantime, Bwakaw’s condition gets worse and eventually dies. But Bwakaw’s death, even while it was still only imminent, has made a difference. Rene has found a new appreciation for life.”
The filmography of Bwakaw is as follows:
Producers—Cinemalaya, APT Entertainment, Ferdinand Lapuz and Antonio P. Tuviera
Cast—Eddie Garcia, Rez Cortez, Soxie Topacio, Armida Siguion-Reyna, Gardo Versoza, Beverly Salviejo, Luz Valdez, Alan Paule, Bibeth Orteza, Joey Paras and the dog Princess.
Production Staff—Carlo Mendoza (cinematography), Joey Luna (production design), Rolando Carino (costume design and art direction), Alex Tomboc (sound), Jema Pamintuan (musical score) and Lawrence Ang (editing).
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