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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — Director Brillante Mendoza’s Ma’ Rosa has been chosen as the Philippines’ entry to the 89th Academy Awards Best Foreign Language Film category, the award-winning director confirmed to CNN Philippines on Wednesday.

“I am happy. I’m very excited. I didn’t expect it,” he said in a text message.

Ma’ Rosa tells the story of Rosa Reyes (Jaclyn Jose), a woman who owns a convenience store in a poor neighborhood of Philippines’ capital Manila, making ends meet with her husband Nestor (Julio Diaz) by selling drugs.

Jaclyn Jose bagged the Best Actress award at the 69th Cannes Film Festival last May. Historical biopic Heneral Luna was the country’s entry last year.

Dekada ’70, Ang Munting Tinig, Crying Ladies, Ang Pagdadalaga Ni Maximo Oliveros,and Transit were also some of the films submitted by the Philippines for the said category.

According to a report from GMA News, The members of the Film Academy of the Philippines (FAP) deliberated over 9 films including Ma’ Rosa, to be sent as the entry to the Oscars.

The other films that were also considered, according to FAP’s press release, are:

  • Felix Manalo by Joel Lamangan,
  • Anino sa Likod ng Buwan by Jun Lana
  • Honor Thy Father by Erik Matti,
  • Hele Sa Hiwagang Hapis by Lav Diaz,
  • Dukot by Paul Soriano
  • Pamilya Ordinaryo by Eduardo Roy Jr.
  • Ang Hapis at Himagsik ni Hermano Puli by Gil Portes
  • Tuos by Roderick Cabrido

In a report from TV Patrol, director Brillante Mendoza said he was happy and proud about the FAP’s recognition of the film.

The final five nominees will be announced on January 24, 2017. The winner will be named at the Oscars ceremony on February 26, 2017. – CNN Philippines

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