Filipino filmmaker Paul Sta. Ana’s “Oros (The Coinbearer)” was declared best feature at the recent (Washington) DC Independent Film Festival (DCIFF). Launched in 1999, the DCIFF aims “to nurture independent films.”
The festival website described this Cinemalaya movie as “gritty, gripping… an intriguing tale with a final ‘twist of the knife.’”
“Oros” tells the story of slum dwellers who rent unclaimed cadavers so they can hold illegal gambling sessions at fake wakes.
Sta. Ana, who couldn’t attend the fest, told the Inquirer that the film’s US-based producer JD Beales accepted the trophy.
Beales was on the verge of tears, Sta. Ana recalled, because it was an unexpected triumph. “Viewers compared it to the Brazilian film ‘City of God,’” said the director.
“Oros” will next be shown at the Asean International Film Festival in Kuching, Sarawak, Malaysia, from March 28 to 30; then at the Cleveland International Film Festival on April 4, 5 and 10.
“Oros” was previously featured at the Vancouver (Canada) and Asiatica Filmmediale (Rome, Italy) festivals. It won best actor at the Cinemalaya fest for lead star Kristoffer King. Bayani San Diego Jr.