Story courtesy of Inquirer.net
LOS ANGELES—In the wake of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ announcement that “Ploning” is indeed one of the official entries vying for the Best Foreign Language Film prize, we have noticed that the folk behind the Philippines’ entry are actively pushing for the film to make it as one of the nine finalists and then, hopefully, as one of the five nominees.
Director Dante Nico Garcia and producer Guia Gonzales are in LA, holding screenings of the film that stars Judy Ann Santos, doing media interviews and seeking advice from some Fil-Ams in Hollywood on how to plot a good Oscar nomination campaign. As in years past, the Foreign Language Film category competition is very tough. The list of entries includes films that have earned rave reviews and won awards in film festivals. France’s bet, for example, is “The Class,” recipient of a Palme d’Or from Cannes.
To our recollection, this is the first time that the talents behind a Philippine entry to the Oscars are making an aggressive effort to snag a spot in the short list.
Young, bright and savvy, Guia and her generation just might help revive the moribund Philippine movie industry. Over Starbucks coffee, she shared her amusing misadventures so far to get an Oscar nod for “Ploning,” which she produced along with Judai herself, Jourdan Sebastian and Raymund George Fernandez.
When we met Guia for the second time, she brought Dante with her. Not every first-time director gets to see his work chosen as his country’s Oscar contender. That’s Dante’s achievement in his cinematic ode to his hometown—Cuyo, Palawan—stunningly captured by cinematographer Charlie Peralta. With his work here, Charlie makes a very valid argument for 35mm film instead of digital media. While we ate lunch, Dante shared stories and anecdotes about his beloved island in the Sulu Sea which were as hypnotic as his Cuyonon-accented Tagalog. Deep in “Ploning’s” story of a man’s search for a woman in his past is Dante’s yearning to capture the remote island of his youth on film.
The UP alumnus admitted crying as he told the good news on the phone to Judai, his close friend, that their labor of love prevailed over Sharon Cuneta’s “Caregiver” in a close 3-2 vote by a special committee of the Film Academy of the Philippines. “Naiiyak ako hanggang ngayon,” Dante said. “Parang na-validate ako.” Trying to avoid being misty-eyed, Dante chuckled when he revealed that some of his town mates mistook his movie’s flashbacks and slightly non-linear telling of the story as the result of a budget problem. “Akala nila naubusan kami ng budget kaya nagka-problema sa editing,” he shared with a smile. “Laktaw-laktaw kasi.”
I am so excited about this movie making it to the Oscars! I really really hope it will. I mean, being shortlisted is more than enough, but c’mon keeping our high hopes can push it more further. I’ve been wanting to see it since it was released, but just failed to do so. And now, I am dying to see it! Let’s all hope for the best that Ploning would make it to the top 5. Anyway, I will include a poll in this post. I hope people who have watched it can vote.