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BAFTA picks British film for Foreign Language Oscar race

The British crime thriller Metro Manila is marking its UK theatrical release with the news that it’s been picked to represent the UK in the race for next year’s Best Foreign Language Oscar.

Although it’s set in the Philippines and shot entirely in the language of Tagalog, Metro Manila was written and directed by Sean Ellis, who’s best known for his 2008 feature Cashback, that was based on his Oscar-nominated short.

Metro Manila, which won the Audience Award for World Cinema at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, tells the story of the appropriately named Oscar Ramirez and his family’s search for a better life in the Philippine capital, Manila. After arriving in the big city from the poverty-stricken rice fields of the north of the country, Oscar and his family’s dreams are challenged as they enter the world of the slums, strip clubs and crime.

Members of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences will begin sifting through the long-list of entries for the Foreign Language Oscar in December, before narrowing it down to five nominations. Previous British films to make it to the final short list include Paul Morrison’s Solomon and Gaenor, which was released internationally in a version that was primarily in Welsh and Yiddish.

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