NORA AUNOR in ‘Thy Womb’

VILMA SANTOS in ‘Ekstra’

MANILA, SEPTEMBER 16, 2013 (MANILA BULLETIN) by nestor cuartero - JUST A THOUGHT: If you have no critics, you’ll likely have no success. – Malcolm X

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PH TO THE OSCARS: Every year, the Philippine movie industry is abuzz with talks of, speculations even, which local film shall be sent to the Oscar Awards as the country’s official representative. For several years now, the country has been sending an entry to the category, Best Foreign Film, which unfortunately, we have yet to win, or come close to winning.

This year, the Film Academy of the Philippines, which is traditionally tasked to select our entry to the world’s biggest film award, has come up with a shortlist of eight films to choose from. These are “Thy Womb” (Brillante Mendoza), “Boses” (Ellen Ongkeko-Marfil), “Dance of the Steel Bars” (Cesar Apolinario and Marnie Manicad), “Tiktik: The Aswang Chronicles” (Erik Matti), “Ekstra: The Bit Player” (Jeffrey Jeturian), “Supremo” (Richard Somes), “Tuhog” (Veronica Velasco), “El Presidente” (Mark Meily) and “On The Job” (Erik Matti).

Note that majority of the eight films in contention come from the indie sector while the rest are indie in nature but mainstream in sensibility.

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IMPOSSIBLE DREAM: Bringing home an Oscar for best foreign film remains a far-fetched dream for the country’s movie industry.

It isn’t as simple as it seems. Ground work marked by a massive, also expensive, promotional campaign is necessary to get your film noticed in Hollywood, or the international film community. Such entails tons of dollars.

A few years back, the team behind “Ploning,” a quiet film by Dante Nico Garcia, launched a promotional campaign in Hollywood when it was picked as the Philippine entry to the Oscars.

They found the task too gargantuan for comfort, almost an impossibility for a small-time producer from a place so far away and from a production company unattached to the majors in the field.

Last year, the producers of “Ang Babae sa Septic Tank” faced the same predicament in the run-up to the Oscars. I remember producer Joji Alonzo saying that it was like a near-death experience, an uphill battle where the blind seemed to lead the blind.

Nevertheless, we continue to dream the impossible dream, why not, hoping that one day soon, a Filipino film shall win the Oscar best foreign film trophy. Elsewhere around the world, however, in Cannes, Berlin, Venice, Filipino films have been winning honors for their craftsmanship and excellence.

Why, you might ask, do we seem to have a fascination for an Oscar award? To many, it is the validation of our work in film, as approved by the United States of America.

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Lovi Poe is the daughter of Fernando Poe, Jr., also known as ‘the King of Philippine Cinema’. Her last name carries a lot of weight and with it, a lot of expectations from the viewing public.

JUNIOR-SENIOR PROM: Lovi Poe gets a dose of the patented Fernando Poe Jr. formula in casting as she pairs with Cesar Montano in “Akin Pa Rin Ang Bukas” on GMA-7.

Cesar is cast as a lawyer, a senior romantic interest for Lovi Poe. The junior-senior casting is a throwback to the old Fernando Poe Jr. formula where the late king of action films usually partnered with much younger leading ladies.

Now, it is Lovi Poe’s time to step into her father’s proven and tested screen formula.

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STAR BOTH WAYS: Tom Rodriguez must be your quintessential Filipino leading man, the guy who swings both ways where roles are concerned and wins on both counts.

Tom turned instant star by way of the closet gay role he currently plays on “My Husband’s Lover.” But before taking on the part of Vincent on MHL, the young actor had played Aiza Seguerra’s impregnator on “Be Careful with My Heart,” where Aiza is cast as a lesbian.

Both shows are wild hits, making Tom Rodriguez a gender-bending leading man. After having been a freelancer for sometime, Tom was signed by GMA Network to a full contract recently, proof of his growing importance as a star both ways. The first film to benefit from his TV success, however, is “Be Careful,” whose movie version features Tom.

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FRASER PLACE: Fraser Place Manila recently launched the following room packages: An Enchanting Night for Two at Fraser Place Manila” for couples, and “It’s More Fun for Pinoys at Fraser” for balikbayans. Amenities include an ensuite bathroom with jet pool and multi-point shower; total entertainment system; modern and well-equipped kitchen, pool, gym and game room, etc.

Frasers Place is at Forbes Tower, Valero St., Salcedo Village, Makati City.

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BY THE WAY… Patti Austin reportedly wants to record an English language version of Gary Valenciano’s “Sana Maulit Muli.” Gary approves. watch Gary on the video:


Lovi Poe sings a mean version of “Huwag Kang Mangako,” theme of her current teleserye, “Akin Pa Rin ang Bukas” (GMA). The C


The video above: Huwag Kang Mangako(Akin Pa Rin Ang Bukas OST)-Donna Cruz/Lovi Poe (HD Lyric Video)

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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