MANILA - Brillante Mendoza's award-winning movie "Ma' Rosa" is the country's official entry in the Best Foreign Language Film category of the prestigious Academy Awards.
This was announced on Wednesday by Edgardo Vinarao, who heads the Film Academy of the Philippines' selection committee for the Oscars.
"I'm very happy that I was chosen. I'm really very happy. Of course, first step pa lang ito," Mendoza told ABS-CBN News on Wednesday in a phone interview.
Mendoza admitted that he wasn't expecting his movie to be chosen.
"After doing 12 films and after directing for the past 10 years, hindi ako napipili so I didn't expect na. Every time they ask for my film, we will give it and they will not choose it naman so I didn't expect na," Mendoza revealed.
According to Mendoza, his film "Ma' Rosa" was just shown at the Toronto International Film Festival and will have two more screenings.
"I'm glad that my film is in Toronto so at least my distributor can tell everyone that my film is selected. They can also spread the news in Toronto," he said.
Starring Jaclyn Jose, who became the first Filipino to win the best actress award at the Cannes International Film Festival, the movie tells the story of a mother who runs a sari-sari store and sells drugs on the side with her husband to make ends meet. The couple gets arrested, leaving their four children to try and buy their parents' freedom from corrupt policemen.
The movie also stars Julia Diaz, Baron Geisler, Neil Ryan Sese, Mercedes Cabral, Mark Anthony Fernandez, Jomari Angeles, Felix Roco, Mon Confiado, Maria Isabel Lopez and Jose's daughter Andi Eigenmann.
On Twitter, Eigenmann also shared the good news.
Meanwhile, Eigenmann's aunt, Cherie Gil, also took to social media to congratulate the film, its director Mendoza, and star Jose.
"No matter what has been, this lady will always have my respect and admiration for her incredible work and contribution as an actress! Aside from the fact that she is the mother of my niece who I'm equally proud of," she wrote in the caption.
In another post, Gil said she is part of this year's screening committee for the Oscars.