‘Signal Rock’ and its shot at the Oscars

October 1, 2018 - 2:02 PM
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Chito Roño’s “Signal Rock” is his second work to get a shot at the upcoming 91st Academy Awards, Hollywood’s most prestigious awards event.

The Film Academy of the Philippines chose “Signal Rock” as the country’s official entry to the Oscars Foreign Language Film category.

Roño’s first work to be submitted to the Academy was his martial law classic “Dekada ’70” in 2003. It did not make the cut, however, to be among the nominees for the competitive category that sees entries from around the world.

Could ‘Signal Rock’ be The One?

The Philippines has not received an Academy nomination, in fact, but for some of those in the movie industry, “Signal Rock” can be the first.

After winning the Critic's Choice and Special Jury Awards in the recent Pista ng Pelikulang Pilipino and 4 international…

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“Signal Rock,” based on a true events in the 1990s, tells the story of the family of family  Intoy who helps his sister Vicky, an overseas worker, and his niece get back on their feet when the two returned to their hometown in the province.

Roño described the movie back when it first screened last August as a simple yet relatable family drama.

“Marami na tayong kwento tungkol sa mga OFW, pero ito ang kwento ng mga taong napagiwanan sa probinsya, na kung tawagin ay Bagtik,” the 64-year-old filmmaker said.

“Signal Rock” won the Critics’ Choice award when it first premiered at the Pista ng Pelikulang Pilipino, a week-long celebration that took place from August 15 to 21 earlier this year. Christian Bables, who played Intoy, also bagged Special Jury award there.

Oscar nominations will be announced next year, on Jan. 22, 2019 while the awards ceremony will take place in the next month on February 24.

Oscars hopefuls through the years

No Filipino movie had won or had gotten a nomination yet since Film Academy of the Philippines started fielding entries to the Oscars in the 1950s.

In 1956, two Filipino classics became entries — a post-war social realist story “Genghis Khan,” the work of late director Manuel Conde and Anak Dalita.

The Philippines’ submissions became a yearly gesture after Auraeus Solito’s “Ang Pagdadalaga ni Maximo Oliveros” turn in 2006.

Popular contemporaries that were Academy Award hopefuls include “Noy” (2010), “Ang Babae sa Septic Tank” (2011), “Heneral Luna” (2015) and “Birdshot” (2017).

In another category, three Filipino-American producers won the country’s first Oscar with the short film “God of Love” for the Best Live Action Short Film in 2011.

The production of this one, however, was not from the Philippines and the cast and the rest of the crew were not Filipinos.