Last August was the second iteration of the Pista ng Pelikulang Pilipino (PPP), a grand film festival extravaganza held to both promote the country’s film industry and as part of the Buwan ng Wika celebration of the national language. For the recently-concluded PPP, there were 14 productions showcased, six special features and eight main film entries. One of these movies is “Signal Rock” a drama story with somewhat supernatural elements directed by acclaimed filmmaker Chito S. Roño. He must be doubly proud of his latest project, now that it has been selected for possible nomination in the next Academy Awards.
CNN Philippines reports that Chito S. Roño’s “Signal Rock” will represent the Philippines in the list of aspiring films from around the world to be included in a final list of nominees for the Best Foreign-Language Film of the 91st Oscars in 2019. The announcement was confirmed by Regal Entertainment, the movie’s distributor during the second Pista ng Pelikulang Pilipino this past August, on their official Facebook page. “Signal Rock” already received the Critic’s Choice and Special Jury Awards in the PPP, and was thusly invited for exhibition in several film festivals overseas. It will join 76 other foreign-language films in contention for Academy nomination.
It was a matter of being “just in time” for “Signal Rock” to be out forth as the Philippines’ Foreign-Language Oscar bet, seeing as the deadline for the next ceremony is October. To qualify for submission to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS), a Foreign-Language film must be produced outside the US, have primarily non-English dialogue, and must have been released in their local cinemas between October 1, 2017 and September 30. This will be a fierce competition for the Academy’s attention, as they tend to only lock the official number of Foreign-Language nominees to just five.
Starring Christian Bables and Elora Espano, “Signal Rock” tells the story of a boy living with his family in 1990s Samar while his elder sister works overseas in Finland. They are able to communicate on their cellphones via the boy standing atop a seaside rock formation. This film is the second by Chito S. Roño to be put forward as an Oscar bet, the first being “Dekada ‘70” back in 2003 for the 76th Awards. Of the 29 past Philippine submissions to the Best Foreign-Language Film nomination process, not one has yet been officially nominated.
The Academy will announced the final list of nominees for all Oscar categories next year on January 22, while the awarding ceremony itself will take place on February 24, 2019.
Image courtesy of Cinema Bravo