Animated feature 'Iti Mapukpukaw' picked as PH official entry to Oscars 2024

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 29) — The Cinemalaya 2023 Best Film "Iti Mapukpukaw" (The Missing), directed by Carl Joseph Papa, was selected as the country's official entry to the Best International Film Category of the 96th Academy Awards to be held next year.

The first animated full-length feature to compete in Cinemalaya featured Golden Globe nominee Dolly de Leon, who was hailed as Best Supporting Actress for the film this year.

LINK: Cinemalaya 2023: ‘Iti Mapukpukaw’ wins Best Film, Dolly de Leon hailed as Best Supporting Actress

The Filipino-Ilocano rotoscope follows the story of a mouthless young animator (Carlo Aquino), whose life unravels after the death of an uncle and the arrival of a familiar alien that wants to take him.

"The Carlo Aquino, Gio Gahol, and Dolly de Leon-starrer recently made history in Cinemalaya as the first-ever animated full-length entry," the Film Development Council of the Philippines said in a post.

It added that it will support the film's campaign by giving P1 million through its Oscars Assistance Program to the director and his team.

During the awards night, Cinemalaya cited "Iti Mapukpukaw" as the film that "boldly takes challenges of technology in crafting a very engaging narrative of a young man confronting the demons of his past."

It also bagged the NETPAC Award for Full Length Feature for "its finely nuanced, masterfully crafted, tale of healing, friendships and young love, effectively utilizing state-of-the-art technology that is integral to its storytelling."

The film was produced by 90 local animators for more than a year.

Papa also said the award-winning film was his debut in the annual film festival.

"It’s still quite rare to see animated feature films in the Philippines, much so an animated film that deals with adult themes that are not usually seen tackled by animated films," said Papa, a software engineer by profession.

"With the films that I make, I continuously strive to make a statement that animation is not a genre but a visual form, and it can do stories that live-action films do," he also said.

Previous entry films to Oscars

The Philippines has been submitting entries to the Academy Awards since 1953, but no Filipino film has ever been nominated nor shortlisted by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. There are also years when the Philippines did not submit an entry.

"Iti Mapukpukaw" is the country's 34th entry to the U-S-based Academy following Erik Matti's highly-acclaimed crime thriller "On the Job: The Missing 8" last year.

In 2020, Brillante Mendoza's war drama Mindanao was picked as national contender at the 93rd Oscars in the same category.

Below are the Filipino films selected as entry to Oscars through the years:

Genghis Khan (1953)

Anak Dalita (1956)

The Moises Padilla Story (1961)

Dahil sa Isang Bulaklak (1967)

Ganito Kami Noon, Paano Kayo Ngayon? (1976)

Karnal (1984)

Bayan Ko: Kapit sa Patalim (1985)

Inagaw Mo ang Lahat sa Akin (1995)

Segurista (1996)

Milagros (1997)

Sa Pusod ng Dagat (1998)

Saranggola (1999)

Anak (2000)

Gatas… Sa Dibdib ng Kaaway (2001)

Mga Munting Tinig (2002)

Dekada '70 (2003)

Crying Ladies (2004)

Ang Pagdadalaga ni Maximo Oliveros (2006)

Donsol (2007)

Ploning (2008)

Ded na si Lolo (2009)

Noy (2010)

Ang Babae sa Septic Tank (2011)

Bwakaw (2012)

Transit (2013)

Norte, Hangganan ng Kasaysayan (2014)

Heneral Luna (2015)

Ma' Rosa (2016)

Birdshot (2017)

Signal Rock (2018)

Verdict (2019)

Mindanao (2020)

On the Job: The Missing 8 (2022)