The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences that spearheads the annual Academy Awards, also known as the Oscars, released in early February the list of eligible films to be nominated for Best Picture. Out of 366 titles, three Filipino-American films are being considered for voting namely, Lingua Franca written, directed and starred by Isabel Sandoval, the documentary film A Thousand Cuts by Ramona Diaz, and Yellow Rose directed by Diane Paragas.
Although Brillante Mendoza's Metro Manila Film Festival winner Mindanao starring Judy Ann Santos didn't make it to the shortlist of Best International Feature Film, the three films mentioned above are already something to be proud of for the accolades they have already received from other film festivals and critic circles in different parts of the world.
1. A Thousand Cuts
Taking a closer look at the plight of award-winning journalist Maria Ressa in recent years, Ramona Diaz's compelling documentary about press freedom in the Philippines has gained acclaim from critics and netizens last year when it was generously screened virtually for a limited time period only.
A Thousand Cuts premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in January 2020 and has won the Cinema Eye Honors Award for The Unforgettables at the Cinema Eye Honors Awards, DocEdge Award at the Documentary Edge Festival, Gotham Independent Film Award for Best Documentary at the Gotham Awards, and the David Carr Award for Truth in Non-Fiction Filmmaking at the Montclair Film Festival.
In an interview, Diaz shared that her documentary films are always about the Filipino but echo internationally relevant themes. Originally, Diaz wanted to make a documentary about the Duterte administration and the rampant war on drugs but eventually, Ressa became the central figure of the film while following the events of 2017.