A seven-member special committee of the Film Academy of the Philippines chose Transit—this year’s best picture winner in the Cinemalaya New Breed category directed by Hannah Espia—as the official Philippine entry to the best foreign-language category of the Oscars next year.
In a meeting on Tuesday afternoon, September 17, the committee headed by new chairman Director Peque Gallaga voted for Transit which figured in a three-way fight with OTJ (On the Job) directed by Eric Matti and Thy Womb directed by Brillante Mendoza.
Transit was actually a last minute entry in the committee’s shortlist of film candidates, having started its commercial exhibition only on September 11—still within the October 2012 to September 2013 period as required by Oscar regulations.
During the last Cinemalaya Filmfest, the film, which was produced by Director Paul Soriano, garnered awards for best film, direction (Hannah Espia),actress (Irma Adlawan), supporting actress (Jasmine Curtis-Smith), cinematography (Ber Cruz), editing (Benjamin Tolentino/Hannah Espia), and original music score (Mon Espia). It also ran away with the Netpac Award, the Special Jury Citation (for the ensemble acting of the cast) and the Audience Choice Award.
Transit stars Jasmine Curtis Smith, Ping Medina, Irma Adlawan, Mercedes Cabral, and Marc Justine Alvarez.
The film tells the story of Moises (Medina), a Filipino single-dad working as a caregiver in Herzliya, Israel, who comes home to their Israel house to celebrate the fourth birthday of his son Joshua (Alvarez). It was on that day that Moises, together with their Filipino neighbors, Janet (Adlawan) and her daughter Yael (Curtis-Smith), find out that the Israeli government is going to deport children of foreign workers. Afraid of the new law, Moises and Janet decide to hide their children from the immigration police by making them stay inside the house.
The film actually unfolds through four distinct points of views of the three woman characters and the little boy.
The other films in the short list included Supremo, El Presidente, Dance of the Steel Bars, Ekstra, Tiktik: The Aswang Chronicles, Tuhog and Boses.
The members of the special committee which Director Gallaga chairs are the following: Actor/Director Robert Arevalo, FAP deputy director-general; Director Jose N. Carreon, secretary of the Directors’ Guild of the Philippines, Inc.; Director William Mayo, president of the Philippine Motion Picture Directors’ Association; Jess Navarro, president of the United Film Editors Guild of the Philippines; Director Elwood Perez; and Actress-Directress Gina Alajar of the Actors’ Guild.
Another member, Manny Morfe, president of the Production Designers Guild of the Philippines.
Since 1996, the FAP special committee has been selecting the country’s annual entry to the Oscars. It was headed by National Artist for Film Director Eddie Romero who passed away early this year.
Transit is the fifth Cinemalaya original production that was selected for the Oscar foreign language film submission. The four other films were: Ang Pagdadalaga ni Maximo Oliveros by Auraeus Solito (2006); Donsol by Adolfo Alix Jr. (2007); Ang Babae sa Septic Tank by Marlon Rivera (2011); and Bwakaw by Jun Lana (2012).
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