The elusive Oscar statuette

Calling on the Film Academy of the Philippines to take action

Here we go again. As we write, there has been no official Philippine entry yet submitted to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) for the Best International Feature Film of the Year.

The Film Academy of the Philippines (FAP) is the sole recognized body of the AMPAS to submit the best Filipino film of the year. Last year, the FAP neglected to send an entry.

The Directors Guild of the Philippines, Inc (DGPI) has gotten in touch with FAP’s Manny Morfe and his reply was: “FAP is temporarily closed since January 2021 due to lack of funds.” 

The Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) has not yet assigned an officer-in-charge or a director general to the FAP. No one is heading or leading the FAP, which was founded through Executive Order 640-A issued by the President of the Philippines. Its purpose is to be the umbrella organization of different guilds in the movie industry.

Meanwhile, based on the Oscars’ rules and deadline, “a list of the selection committee members must be submitted to the Academy no later than Monday, Aug 15, 2022, or by the submission deadline published by the Academy.” FAP has not composed any committee or selected any member to do this important job.  

We have eligible film titles because the AMPAS rule stated, “the country-selected film must be first released in the country of origin no earlier than Jan. 1, 2022, and no later than Nov. 30, 2022, and be first publicly exhibited for at least seven consecutive days in a commercial motion picture theater for the profit of the producer and exhibitor.”

'Leonor Will Never Die'

Leonor Will Never Die, directed by Martika Escobar, bagged the World Cinema Dramatic Competition Special Jury Prize: Innovative Spirit at the Sundance Film Festival and the film about a comatose, retired screenwriter starring Sheila Francisco was the opening film of the 18th Cinemalaya Philippine Independent Film Festival.

'The Missing 8'

The Missing 8, directed by Erik Matti, garnered the Volpi Cup for Best Actor John Arcilla at the 78th Venice International Film Festival. The crime thriller focuses on Matti’s take on how the press affects the political setting of the nation.


Walker, directed by Joel Lamangan, starring Allen Dizon and Rita Avila will be having its world premiere at the 44th Moscow International Film Festival (MIFF), the second oldest film festival in the world after Venice. It centers on a family of sex workers against men of authority. 

'The Baseball Player'

There is no doubt that Cinemalaya Best Picture Baseball Player, directed by Carlo Obispo, and Cinemalaya Jury Prize Winner Blue Room, directed by Maan Asuncion-Dagñalan, deserve to be on the list of the best films of 2022. The FAP committee should also consider these indie gems. 

'Blue Room'
'When The Waves Are Gone'

When The Waves Are Gone by Lav Diaz also had a world premiere at this year’s Venice International Film Festival. In this re-interpretation of Alexandre Dumas’ The Count of Monte Cristo, two friends pull a bank heist. While one of them is imprisoned, the other becomes a tormentor-ruler on their home island. Vengeance is not far-fetched. Diaz also directed Isang Salaysay ng Karahasang Pilipino (A Tale of Filipino Violence) based on Ricky Lee’s short story Servando Magdamag.

Even during the pandemic, our local filmmakers were making relevant, creative films. Let us push our government agencies to see the importance of film as a cultural export. Let us be inspired by our neighbor, South Korea, whose government considers the entertainment industry as a major player in their national economy, successfully exporting the Korean Wave or Hallyu to the global market. 

Banner photo by Don Emmert/AFP