The award-winning film Verdict by Raymund Ribay Gutierrez has been selected by the Film Academy of the Philippines (FAP) as the country’s official entry to the 2020 Oscars Awards.
FAP today announced its selection of the domestic abuse drama directed by Raymund Ribay Gutierrez as the Philippines’ entry to the International Feature Film (formerly Foreign Language Film) Category of the 92nd edition of the Annual Academy Awards in Hollywood scheduled for February 2020.
Verdict won the Orizzonti Special Jury Prize winner at the 76th Venice International Film Festival held on September 8, 2019.
Verdict had its Philippine theater run as a Solar Pictures release during the Pista ng Pelikulang Pilipino Sandaan Showcase from September 13 until today, September 19.
Produced by Brillante Mendoza’s Center Stage Productions and Films Boutique of Nicolas Brigaud-Robert and Jean Christophe Simon, Verdict tells the story of Joy and her six-year-old daughter Angel who suffer abuse from her husband, Dante.
The 126-minute film stars Max Eigenmann, Kristoffer King, Jorden Suan, and Rene Durian.
In his director’s notes, Gutierrez relates his observations about social realities in the Philippines depicted in his film, saying, “The cost of pursuing a case in the Philippines is astronomically high for an average Filipino. Under these circumstances, society sees and expects the legal system to be equal in every aspect, for the defendant as well as for the victim. What I am trying to show in the film is that sometimes equality in litigation leads to a more complex procedure that in turn results in impunity for the perpetrator. Orderly judicial procedures are important, but if they are the only focus, they threaten to pervert the justice they seek.”
“There are times when justice needs to be timely in order to be justice at all. If getting a verdict takes unreasonable and inordinate time, proceedings take away the meaning of seeking justice in the first place,” Gutierrez adds.
The Philippines has yet to receive an Oscars nomination since it started submitting to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) in 1953. Signal Rock and Heneral Luna were among the Philippines’ Oscars bets in recent years.
AMPAS will announce the nominees for the Oscars after nominations voting closes and announced by January 2020. If Verdict makes the 5-film nominee list, it will be the Philippines’ first-ever contender for the Oscars trophy at The Academy Awards ceremonies scheduled to be held on February 9, 2020.
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