‘Metro Manila’ wins at Sundance Film Festival


British filmmaker Sean Ellis’ “Metro Manila” won the Audience Award in the World Cinema-Dramatic section of the Sundance Film Festival, which officially closes Monday in Park City, Utah.

“Metro Manila” was shot entirely in the Philippines and features a cast of Filipinos.

The news was relayed to the Philippine Daily Inquirer by Filipino actor John Arcilla, who attended the event with costars Jake Macapagal, JM Rodriguez and Ana Abad Santos.

Ellis, an Oscar and Bafta (British Academy of Film and Television Arts)—nominated short filmmaker, invited the cast and crew onstage when he accepted the trophy.

“I’m so glad this film connected with everyone,” said Ellis in his acceptance speech.

Abad Santos told the Inquirer the triumph was “unexpected.”

“It’s amazing. All our screenings were packed and tickets were sold out,” said Arcilla.

The stars said they were “overwhelmed. We didn’t think it could happen. We were chosen by the people.”

Founded by Robert Redford, the annual festival aims to nurture independent filmmakers who might otherwise be eclipsed by the major studios while Hollywood uses it to scout new talent.

This year’s event presented 119 feature films from 32 countries, including 51 first-timers.

“Fruitvale,” a film about a notorious United States police shooting of an unarmed black man, won top prize at the festival on Saturday, while movies from Russia and South Korea were among non-US honorees.

The movie by first-time director Ryan Coogler won the US Drama Grand Jury award, as well as the US Drama Audience Award.

In non-US categories, the Grand Jury Prize for a Foreign Drama went to “Jiseul” by South Korea’s Muel O, while Cambodian Kalyanee Mam’s “A River Changes Course” took the Grand Jury Prize for a Foreign Documentary.

The makers of a film about Russia’s Pussy Riot feminist rock group, which took a Special Jury Prize, used their acceptance speech to hail the cause and rally support for its three members jailed in Moscow last year.

“Fruitvale”—named after the San Francisco Bay-area neighborhood where the action takes place—tells the real-life story of Oscar Grant, shot dead by police in the early hours of New Year’s Day 2009.

The film’s costars include Octavia Spencer, who won Best Supporting Actress Oscar last year for her role in the civil rights drama “The Help.”

The Grand Jury Prize for a US Documentary went to “Blood Brother,” an American’s work on behalf of an AIDS-afflicted community in India. It also took the Audience Award for US Documentary. With an AFP report

Originally posted: January 27, 2013 | 1:48 pm

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  • Platypus09


    This is such an honor to the director and our country.

    More power… Can’t wait to watch this..

    Hopefully, our local movie directors and producers can emulate and be inspired in creating same quality movies for our tastes and international movie fans.

  • Garo Ungaro

    Just one of those much needed boost for the country…Good job!

  • Fred

    Mr Bayani San Diego, you should have researched the plot/story of Metro Manila and included in this write-up. Sayang. Congrats to Sean Ellis and crew!

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