Paul Soriano: I have nothing against 'OTJ'
Soriano hoping Filipinos would rally behind 'Transit'
|"Transit" producer Paul Soriano. File photo|
MANILA – Instead of dwelling on intrigues, “Transit” producer Paul Soriano appealed to Filipinos to come together and help campaign for the independent film to become an official nominee in the upcoming 86th Academy Awards.
This comes after "On the Job" (OTJ) director Erik Matti claimed that several politicians urged the Film Academy of the Philppines (FAP) not to submit the action-drama thriller as an entry to the Oscars.
In an interview with ABS-CBN News, Soriano said he respects the decision of the FAP in picking “Transit” to represent the Philippines, pointing out that a victory for the movie will also be the victory for the Philippines.
No Filipino film has ever been nominated for best foreign language film in the Oscars.
“I respect the Film Academy and their decision. It went in our favor so, of course, we are very happy. But whatever the Film Academy decides, I will support. To me, I look at it as more than a film now. I think ‘Transit’ is bigger than a film. It’s now representing the Philippines. My prayer is that everyone in the film industry can come together and support ‘Transit’ to achieve the impossible ...which is to make it the first Oscar nomination and the first Oscar win,” he said.
Soriano said “Transit” did not bypass any other movie as it went through the regular process conducted by the FAP.
Despite this, Soriano stressed that he has nothing against Matti, as well as “On The Job.”
“Personally, ‘OTJ’ is a great film. After I watched ‘OTJ,’ I texted direk Erik. We are friends also. I said ang galing, ang ganda. It was an action drama and I enjoyed it. I really have nothing against ‘OTJ’ and direk Erik, I respect the guy. Actually, I’ve learned from him. I’ve known him from quite a while now. I think all is well,” he said.
Rallying behind ‘Transit’
Setting aside intrigues, Soriano, who is also known as the boyfriend of actress-host Toni Gonzaga, said he is now spending much of his time in getting “Transit” shown in the US.
“I’ve got a lot of feedback and invitations from a lot of Hollywood film production companies that want to support the film. I’ve met with Hollywood producers. In time, I’ll let you know who they are but we have big support so we are very encouraged,” he said.
But even with this good news, Soriano knows that it will be a difficult journey to the Oscars.
“We heard that we’ll be needing a couple of million dollars and that’s 10 times, 20 times more than the budget of the film. But we believe that we will get the support we need and that people will rally behind this film. When it’s for the country, I think we should all come together,” he said.
While "Transit" was a "big risk" for him from the very beginning, Soriano said he is hoping that it would make it to the Oscars to bring pride to the country.
“Honestly, when we made this film, from the beginning, it was all just a big risk. I funded the film out of my own pocket. That was a big risk on my part – to trust Hannah Espia, a film graduate, to direct the film in Israel, to have Filipinos speaking Hebrew and to tackle a pretty controversial issue in Israel. But at the end of the day, as a filmmaker, we believe in the story. We are so happy that besides the 10 awards at Cinemalaya, it’s now the official entry of the Philippines to the Oscars,” he said.