It emerged as the special jury prize winner when it competed in the Horizons (Orizzonti) section of this year's Venice Film Festival.
And this Thursday, it was revealed that Raymund Ribay Gutierrez' "Verdict" will be the Philippines' entry for the International Feature Film category of the 92nd Academy Awards.
The film was selected for the Oscars by a jury chaired by director Jose Carreon, and included Film Development Council of the Philippines head Liza Diño and actor-producer Joel Torre, among others, the Film Academy of the Philippines said.
"Verdict" is about an abused and battered wife seeking justice. It stars Max Eigenmann and the late Kristoffer King.
The film, which was executive produced by Gutierrez' mentor Brillante Mendoza, was screened at the 2019 Pista ng Pelikulang Pilipino.
In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Gutierrez shared that "Verdict" was based on a true story.
"This is what's happening. Things are not black and white. The law is not always fair. Filmmaking is about life and I just want to show how life is and at this stage of my career, I am interested in the serious side of life," he said.
The official synopsis for "Verdict" reads: "Joy and her six-year-old daughter Angel live in Manila, with her husband, Dante, a small-time criminal. As so often in the past, Dante comes home drunk at night and beats Joy brutally."
"This time, he also hurts Angel. Joy grabs her daughter and flees to the local police post to finally get him sent to jail. Justice, Joy learns, takes time at best and is impossible to get at worst.
"Not without reason, she feels that she and her daughter are increasingly under threat."