Donsol, a Cinemalaya film directed by Adolfo Alix Jr., was chosen as the country official entry to the best foreign language film category of the Oscars for next year’s awards.
A special committee created by the Film Academy of the Philippines to select the official entry narrowed down the list of films into a virtual toss-up among three local films which were shown commecially between October 31, 2006 to September, 2007. These were Donsol, Inang yaya of Unitel and Foster Child of Seiko Films. The committee picked Donsol in a voting last Wednesday, Septemtber 19.
The committee was headed by National Artist for Film Director Eddie Romero, with two other film directors (Jose N. Carreon, secretary of the Directors Guild of the Phil., Inc. (DGPI) and William Mayo, president of the Philippine Motion Picture Directors Association), scriptwriter Pablo S. Gomez, production designer Manny Morfe and actors guild President Jeorge Ejercito, as members.
Donsol was one of the eight full-length films that competed in the 2006 Cinemalaya Film Festival which was held in July 2006. It was commercially exhibited starting Nov. 29 last year.
In the 2006 Cinemalaya souvenir program, a write up of Alix runs as follows: Alix graduated magna cum laude from the Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila wth a degree in Mass Communication. He was a scholar of the Public Relations Society of the Philippines. He was co-writer of the multi-awarded Mga Munting Tinig by Gil Portes and art director of the prizewinning Mano Po by Joel Lamangan. He also co-wrote Gil Portes’ Beautiful Life, Homecoming and Mourning Girls and Joyce Bernal’s D’Anothers. He teaches scriptwriting at San Beda College-Alabang.
The filmography of Donsol includes: Bicycle Pictures, production company; Adolfo Alix Jr. and Ricky Gallardo, executive producers; Lea Calmerin, line producer; Eli Balce, director of photography; Gessan Enriquez, production designer; Tara Illenberger, editor; Jesse Lucas, music; Ari Trofeo, field sound recording; Mac Vasquez, sound engineer; and Han Salazar, assistant director;
The cast includes Sid Lucero, Angel Aquino, Cherie Gil, Jaclyn Jose, Bembol Roco, Simon Ibarra, Kenneth Ocampo, Aaron Junatas, Erika Anne Luna and Mark Gil.
Rule Thirteen of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ Oscar awards rules and regulations defines a foreign language film as “a feature-length motion picture produced outside the United States of America with a predominantly non-English dialogue track.”
To be eligible for nomination, the film must be first released in the country of origin between October 2006 and September 2007, and first publicly exhibited by means of 35mm or 70mm film for at least seven consecutive days in a commercial motion picture theater for the profit of the producer and exhibitor, advertised and exploited during its eligibility run in a manner considered normal and customary to the industry.
Rule 13, however, stresses that the film need not have been released in the U.S. It is also emphatic that accurate English subtitles are required. An item in the eligibility component includes this requirement: the submitting country must certify that creative talent of that country exercised artistic control of the film.
The Oscar’s best foreign language film award began in 1947 when the Academy gave a special award to Shoe Shine from Italy.From 1948 to 1955, the Academy only gave a special award to the best foreign language film. In 1956, the category became a competitive award.
Italy won the most best foreign language film awards with 10.while France garnered the most nominations with 30.
The special awards from 1947 to 1955 were given to what are now film classics. These films included Shoe Shine, Monsieur Vincent, The Bicycle Thief, The Walls of Malapaga, Rashomon, Forbidden Games, Gate of Hell and Samurai: The Legend of Musashi.
The following films were the Philippines’ official entries from 1996 to 2004: Inagaw Mo ang Lahat sa Akin (1996), produced by Reyna Films and directed by Carlitos Siguion-Reyna; Milagros (1997) produced by Merdeka Films and directed by Marilou Diaz-Abaya; Sa Pusod ng Dagat (1998) produced by GMA Films and directed by Marilou Diaz-Abaya;
Saranggola (1999) produced by GMA Films and directed by Gil M. Portes; Anak (2000) produced by Star Cinema and directed by Rory Quintos; Gatas…Sa Dibdib ng Kaaway (2001) produced by Crown Seven and directed by Gil M. Portes; Mga Munting Tinig (2002) produced by Teamwork Films and directed by Gil. M. Portes; Dekada ’70 (2003) produced by Star Cinema and directed by Chito Roño; and Crying Ladies (2004) produced by Unitel Films and directed by Mark Meily.
There was no Philippine entry in 2005 but Ang Pagdadalaga ni Maximo Oliveros, another Cinemalaya film, was entered last year.