MANILA, Philippines?Against all odds, the ?Ploning? team remained upbeat.
In a text message, actress and producer Judy Ann Santos said: ?Lobbying for ?Ploning? at the Oscars was an overwhelmingly blessed experience. It allowed us to raise the banner for the Philippines and Filipinos in Hollywood. For this opportunity, we are humbled and grateful.?
Co-star Ces Quesada agreed. In a text message, she said: ?Being in the Palm Springs festival has made me feel that although the Oscars is the ultimate prize ... the warm reception and encouraging comments and interest in the Philippines are enough to validate our efforts. It was a good fight and I am glad we did it. Ika nga, kung hindi susubukan paano mananalo? (If we don?t try, how can we win?)?
Rolando S. Atienza, chair of the Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP) which gave a P2.5-million grant for the film?s Oscar campaign, noted: ?It?s worth the experience. This is the first time that the government supported a Filipino film for the Oscars. Obviously, there is more work to be done, more knowledge to be learned, so that our efforts will be more effective. With this year?s experience, next year will be a better year.?
When news broke of the non-inclusion of ?Ploning? in the Top 9 of the Best Foreign Language Film category of the Oscars on Tuesday night (California time), the Filipino film had just had its second screening at the 20th Palm Springs International Film Festival.
At that time, the cast (led by actors Judy Ann Santos, Quesada and Meryll Soriano) and crew (led by director Dante Nico Garcia and producer Guia Gonzales) were in high spirits.
In a text message sent to the Philippine Daily Inquirer, Quesada related: ?We?re now having a party (held at the Azul Bar in downtown Palm Springs) after the second screening. We?ve been playing to full houses. A third screening is in the works.?
Quesada said audience feedback had been ?overwhelming.?
?So many people are interested in the Philippines,? she recalled. ?Dante is the toast of the town. They liked Judai (Santos? nickname), too. They praised her acting ... even her dress by Paul Cabral.?
?Ploning? is set in the small island of Cuyo in Palawan province and features the ?dying? Cuyonon language and culture.
Only one Asian country?Japan?managed to secure a slot, although Israel and Turkey were also represented in a line-up dominated by European films.