Though the film was shot in Manila, the Philippines capital, and in Tagalog, it was shot by British filmmaker Sean Ellis. It was selected for submission by a BAFTA committee.
“Metro Manila” is eligible for the competition due to a rule change in 2006. Before that year, they would not be able to submit a film that was not in an official language of the selected country. That rule came into action in 2002, when BAFTA selected Asif Kapadia’s Hindi-language “The Warrior,” which was disqualified on the grounds of not being in an indigenous British language. Welsh-lingo “Eldra” was instead allowed to be submitted
The film is only one of 11 submissions the Brits have made to the Oscars foriegn-lingo category, and only two made it into competition in the past: Welsh biopic “Hedd Wyn” in 1993 and romantic drama “Solomon and Gaenor” in 1999.
“Metro Manila,” focusing on a man named Oscar who moves to Manila with his family and finds some shadiness in his new job, won this year’s audience award for world cinema at Sundance and is set for a U.K. release on Sept. 20.
The deadline for submitting to the foreign-language category is Oct. 1. Nominations will be announced Jan. 16 and the ceremony will be held March 2 at the Dolby Theater.