‘Birdshot’ is official PH entry to 2018 Oscar Best Foreign Language derby

September 26, 2017 - 5:03 PM
Mary Joy Apostol in 'Birdshot.'

Mikhail Red’s “Birdshot” has been chosen by the Film Academy of the Philippines as the country’s official entry to the Best Foreign Language category in the 90th Academy Awards.

It was selected by a seven-man committee over eight other local films that had theatrical runs between October 2016 to September 2017. The FAP made the announcement in a post on its official website on Tuesday. 

The other films that were reviewed by the committee for Oscar consideration were “Die Beautiful” by Jun Lana; “1st Sem” by Dexter Hernandez and Allan Ibanez; “Ang Araw sa Likod Mo” by Dominic Nuesa; “Kita Kita” by Sigrid Bernardo; “Ang Manananggal sa Unit 23B” by Prime Cruz; “Patay na si Hesus” by Victor Villanueva; “Triptiko” by Miguel Franco Michelena; and “Sunday Beauty Queen” by Babyruth Villarama.

This year’s Oscar committee of FAP was headed by director-scriptwriter Jose N. Carreon as chairman with the following as members: actress-director Gina Alajar, director Mel Chionglo, Film Development Council of the Philippines chair Liza Dino, academicians Jag Garcia and Dr. Rolando Tolentino, and actress-screenwriter Raquel Villavicencio.

Only the six committee members voted for the selected entry. However, when the votes ended in a tie between “Birdshot” and “Sunday Beauty Queen,” the committee chairman had to break the tie and chose “Birdshot.”

The coming-of-age thriller about a young farm girl who accidentally shot a Philippine eagle became one of the most talked about films in the recently concluded Pista ng Pelikulang Pilipino where it won the Critics’ Choice Award for best film.

A year before that, “Birdshot” made its world premiere at the prestigious Tokyo International Film Festival, where it won the Best Picture award in the festival’s Asian Future Film section.

Mikhail Red, the film’s 24-year old director, was elated upon learning the good news.

“What a spectacular turn of events for ‘Birdshot’! I’m thankful to FAP for giving us the opportunity to represent our country as well as our ‘Birdshot’ family, for being patient and determined while creating a substantial and well-crafted film,” Red said in a statement.

“I am literally going to cry,” producer Pamela Reyes also posted on her Facebook page.

“Birdshot” was produced by PelikulaRED, Tuko Film Productions, Buchi Boy Films and CJ Entertainment and directed by Mikhail Red from a screenplay of Mikhail Red and Rae Red. The film’s cast included Mary Joy Apostol, Arnold Reyes, Ku Aquino and John Arcilla.

It is also the second film from TBA Studios to become the official Philippine entry to the Oscars. The box-office historical epic “Heneral Luna” was the country’s bet for the 88th Academy Awards.

No Philippine film has ever made the final list of nominees for the Oscar Best Foreign Language Film category. “Birdshot” is hoping to be the first.