'Ilo Ilo' is Singapore's entry to Oscars
MANILA -- A movie that centers on an Iloilo-born domestic helper in Singapore is the country's official entry to the 86th Academy Awards, marking the third submission that chronicles stories of Filipinos to the prestigious film industry event.
Directed by filmmaker Anthony Chen, "Ilo Ilo" has been selected by the Singapore Film Commission (SFC) as the country's submission to compete in the 2014 Oscars' Best Foreign Language Film category.
The film, according to Singaporean news outfit The Straits Times, was chosen "for its excellence in execution and performance, accentuated by a thought-provoking storyline," quoting SFC head Yeo Chun Cheng.
"Ilo Ilo," which kicked off its commercial run in Singapore early this month, is inspired by the real-life relationship of Chen and his Filipina nanny, Teresita Sajonia.
Portrayed by Filipina actress Angeli Bayani, "Auntie Terry," as recounted on-screen, served at a time when the Asian financial crisis was in full swing in 1997, providing a backdrop to her forming ties with the boy she tends to.
It also stars Singapore's Yeo Yann Yann, Chen Tianwen, newcomer Koh Jia Ler.
The film debuted to critical acclaim, and even won the Camera d'Or at this year's Cannes Film Festival, marking the first time a Singaporean feature won the award.
3 Pinoy-inspired films
Singapore's submission of "Ilo Ilo" marks the third film that centers on Filipinos to compete for a slot as an official nominee in the 86th Academy Awards.
Hannah Espia's "Transit," which tells the story of Filipinos in hiding from the Israeli government, is the Philippines' submission to the Oscars; while Sean Ellis' "Metro Manila," which chronicles the struggles of a Filipino farmer in the Philippine capital, was announced Thursday as the United Kingdom's entry.
Whereas in earlier editions of the Oscars, an entry to the Best Foreign Language Film category was required to be in the official language of the submitting country, this was changed in 2006. This allowed, for instance, a Russian film predominantly featuring Spanish as a spoken language to compete.
The October 1 deadline for film submissions to the category will be followed by the Academy's release of a list of eligible entries later that month. This will be trimmed down to nine finalists in January, with the final five nominees announced in the same month.
The 86th Academy Awards ceremony will follow on March 2 at the Dolby Tehater in Los Angeles, California.