Althea Vega recalls 'phenomenal' BAFTA experience

By Rose Eclarinal, ABS-CBN Europe News Bureau

Posted at Feb 19 2014 05:45 PM | Updated as of Feb 20 2014 01:45 AM

LONDON -- Stars strutted on the red carpet of British Academy of Film and Television Arts or BAFTA -- Britain's version of the Academy Awards -- on Sunday.

For Filipina actress Althea Vega, who attended the awards with some of the cast members of British-Filipino film “Metro Manila,” the experience was overwhelming.

“It was phenomenal,” Vega told ABS-CBN Europe News Bureau. “Kasi ang pelikula namin was shot in the Philippines with Filipino actors at kinilala sa iba’t-ibang bansa. So wow, it’s very overwhelming.”

“Meto Manila,” directed, co-written and co-produced by Sean Ellis, was nominated for Best Foreign Film in the BAFTA.

The film was shot in the Philippines in 2011 and centers on the life of Oscar Ramirez, played by Jake Macapagal, who relocated his family from the province to the nation's capital, Metro Manila, where he falls victim to the city's dark side.

Vega plays Mai, the wife of Oscar who is forced to work as a hostess to provide for her family.

The young actress was so keen on attending the BAFTA such that she paid for her own ticket to the awards night.

“I said, ‘Sean, I want to experience the BAFTA.’ And he said, ‘Okay, Althea, you can come but you have to arrange for yourself.’ Malaki ang tiwala ko na papasok ang ‘Metro Manila’ sa BAFTA, so ang ginawa ko, I collected articles from the Internet, clipping and I submitted it with my visa application and after 15 days, I got my visa. Nag-book ako ng plane ticket ko, my hotel my accommodation.”

Vega said it was all worth it.

“I'm very overwhelmed talaga kasi kinilala ang movie sa iba’t-ibang bansa. We are here, we are Filipinos and we are representing our film,” she said.

“12 Years a Slave,” the unflinching drama about the slavery days in America, scored big at the BAFTA, taking Best Actor and Best Film honors.

“The Great Beauty” snatched the Best Foreign Film award.

Before the BAFTA, “Metro Manila” bagged the Best Director and Best Independent Film awards at the 16th British Independent Film Awards.