“Transit” On Its Way to the Oscars

(Photo credit: ticketworld.com.ph)
(Photo credit:  ticketworld.com.ph)
(Photo credit: ticketworld.com.ph)

There are so many things that Filipinos  could be proud of – including having talent for entertainment on different genres and media.

With Transit as our latest entry to the Oscars, we could be adding another notch to our belt; an Oscar win in the Best Foreign Language category of the 86th Academy Awards.

The Philippines has been sending film entries to the Oscars under the Best Foreign Language category, but none have been nominated yet.  Transit is the country’s 25th entry.  Hopefully, this would be the first one to be nominated for the award.

A Last-Minute Entry

By August 15, 2013, the Film Academy of the Philippines (FAP) had released the initial set of movies they are considering to send as the country’s official entry to the Academy Awards.  Oscar regulations dictate that a movie should be from October 2012 to September 2013 to be eligible for the competition.  On September 11, Transit was released for commercial exhibition, allowing it to fall within the regulations.

What Makes Transit  Special?

Considering that this is the country’s 25th entry, does it stand a chance to make it to the shortlist of nominees to the Oscars in 2014?  Well, FAP thinks so.

What makes Transit special?

Set and shot in Israel, Transit depicts the struggles of a young Filipino family faced with a huge dilemma.  Children of migrant workers need to be deported according to the country’s law.  The movie is Hannah Espia’s first feature film.  It stars child actor Marc Justine Alvarez, Jasmine Curtis Smith, Ping Medina, Irma Adlawan, and Mercedes Cabral.

According to director Peque Gallaga, Transit was chosen because it had the best chance of winning based on the history of Oscars which often leaned towards melodramas when it comes to nominations and wins.

Transit actually had a 3-way spar with OTJ (On the Job) and Thy Womb.  OTJ is a fast-paced action movie which featured the dark side of crime in the Philippines.  OTJ stars Piolo Pascual, Gerald Anderson, Joey Marquez, and Joel Torre in a crime thriller.

According to Gallaga, the committee in FAP didn’t want something  dark to mar the image of our country in the eyes of other countries looking at us.  He also categorized The Womb as an ethnic movie based on its main character; the Badjao midwife portrayed by Nora Aunor.

Local Awards for Transit

Gallaga added that Transit was something that the Philippines can be proud of. Aside from not depicting violence in our country, it also had excellent technical features.  In fact, the movie had bagged a number of awards in Cinemalaya.

  • Audience Choice Award (Netpac Award)
  • The Special Jury Citatio (Netpac Award)
  • Best Original Music Score (Mon Espia)
  • Best Editing (Benjamin Tolentino and Hannah Espia)
  • Best Cinematography (Ber Cruz and Lyle Nemenzo Sacris)
  • Best Supporting Actress (Jasmine Curtis Smith)
  • Best Actress (Irma Adlawan)
  • Best Direction (Hannah Espia)

(Photo credit:  entertainment.inquirer.net)
(Photo credit: entertainment.inquirer.net)

Mixed Reactions from Netizens

With so many great movies to choose from, netizens have been taking sides as to which film should make it as the country’s official entry.  As expected, there were a number of negative reactions when it was announced that Transit would be representing the country.

Some viewers pointed out that although Transit won a number of local awards, its closest completion, Thy Womb, won several international awards, including at the Asia Pacific Screen Award in Australia and the prestigious Venice International Film Festival.  The fans pointed out that Transit has yet to prove itself in the international movie scene, whereas Thy Womb has already caught acclaim.  Considering that Thy Womb made significant noise in the international film festivals, including a 5-minute standing ovation in the one at Venice, many movie fans felt that it should have been the one chosen.

Still, FAP has chosen Transit over Thy Womb and OTJ.  The deed is done.  What we could all hope for now is that it would make it through the rigorous screening for the 86th Academy Awards and be the country’s first ever nomination.  Despite what the fans are saying, the committee in FAP must have some seen a potential in Transit which made them pick it over the other equally excellent movies.

Go Transit!  We’re hoping to see you at the Oscars!

To see the full trailer:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TY2ipU9tYek

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