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‘Birdshot’ is PH entry in Oscars foreign language selection

“BIRDSHOT,” a coming-of-age drama about a girl who accidentally shoots a rare eagle, is the entry of the Philippines in the upcoming foreign language selection of the Academy Awards, popularly known as The Oscars.

The choice was made by a specially-formed committee within Film Academy of the Philippines, which announced its decision last Sept. 26.

Initially the committee was evenly split between “Birdshot” and “Sunday Beauty Queen.” That required Jose N. Carreon as chairman to cast a deciding vote, according to Variety, a popular entertainment website in the US.

“Birdshot” debuted at the Tokyo International Film Festival, where it won top prize in the Asian Future section in 2016. Then it took part in other festivals.

On Aug. 16, “Birdshot” was part of the Pista ng Pelikulang Pilipino organized by the Film Development Council of the Philippines.

The critically-acclaimed movie stars Arnold Reyes, Mary Joy Apostol, John Arcilla, Manuel Acquino, Dido de la Paz, Elora Espano, Rolando Inocencio, Ronnie Quizon. It is directed by 24-year-old Mikhail Red.

Variety described “Birdshot” as impressive on its film review on Aug. 7.

“Tenderness and brutality exist side-by-side in ‘Birdshot,’ the impressive second feature by young Filipino filmmaker Mikhail Red (‘Rekorder’). Intertwining the stories of a farm girl who unwittingly kills a protected bird and an idealistic rookie cop who succumbs to corruption during a missing persons investigation, Red delivers a compelling study in the loss of innocence while also offering potent commentary on the state of things in the Philippines.

“Still enjoying a successful festival run that began with the Best Asian Future award at Tokyo, ‘Birdshot’ opens domestically on Aug. 16 and is well worth the attention of distributors elsewhere,” according to film reviewer Richard Kuipers.

“Filmed in earthy tones with splashes of red in significant items of clothing and set decoration, ‘Birdshot’ is wonderfully well directed and performed. Impressive newcomer Apostol has a magnetic screen presence and holds her own in the company of reliable pros Reyes and Arcilla. Haunting soundscapes by composer Teresa Barozzo, a frequent collaborator of Brillante Mendoza, rounds out the film’s classy technical presentation,” the same review said.

Other movies in contention had been “Die Beautiful” by Jun Lana; “1st SEM,” by Dexter Hernandez and Allan Ibañez; “Ang Araw sa Likod Mo,” by Dominic Nuesa; “Kita Kita,” by Sigfrid Bernardo; “Ang Manananggal sa Unit 23B,” by Prime Cruz; “Patay na si Hesus,” by Victor Villanueva; “Triptiko,” by Miguel Franco Micelena; and “Sunday Beauty Queen,” by Baby Ruth Villarama.