These three Fil-Am films can make it to the Oscars

Published March 9, 2021, 2:32 PM

by John Legaspi

And they’re all made by female directors

Mari Ressa, Isabel Sandoval, and Eva Noblezada

There is still hope for Filipino stories to be recognized at the Oscars this year. According to a story by Film Development Academy of the Philippines, among the films the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences still considering for the Best Picture award are the movies “Lingua Franca,” “A Thousand Cuts,” and “Yellow Rose.”

The three feature films are among the 366 titles eligible for the award, the highest count for Best Picture in the last five decades. 

But before the announcement of the nominees on March 15, 2021 and the ceremony on April 25, 2021 let’s get to know more about the Filipina stories that are making ripples in the international movie scene. 

‘Lingua Franca’

Directed and starred by Isabel Sandoval, the film centers its narrative on a Filipino trans woman caregiver on a pursuit to obtain a green card.

Isabel made history by being the first trans woman of color to be nominated at the Venice International Film Festival. It was also nominated for at the GLAAD Media Awards and John Cassavetes Awards. The film took home the Grand Prize at Chéries-Chéris in Paris and Best Film (International Narrative) at the Tel Aviv International LGBT Film Festival, while Isabel won Best Actress awards at the International Cinephile Society Awards and Pacific Meridian International Film Festival.

‘A Thousand Cuts’

In this documentary, filmmaker Ramona Diaz follows Filipina journalist Maria Ressa and explores the dynamics between the press and the government led by President Rodrigo Duterte. 

First screened at the Sundance Film Festival, the documentary bagged honors at the Cinema Eye Honors Awards, Documentary Edge Festival, Gotham Awards, and Montclair Film Festival.

‘Yellow Rose’

This Diane Pagaras film is all about a Filipina teen in the US, a country music dream, and the life of an undocumented immigrant. Making her big-screen debut in this film is Broadway actress Eva Noblezada. It also stars Princess Punzalan and Tony-winning actress Lea Salonga.

The film received special awards at the Asian American International Film Festival, Toronto Reel Asian International Film Festival, and Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival, among others.