Metro Manila (film)

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Metro Manila
Metro Manila Poster.jpg
Directed by Sean Ellis
Produced by Mathilde Charpentier
Sean Ellis
Written by Sean Ellis
Frank E. Flowers
Starring Jake Macapagal
Althea Vega
John Arcilla
Music by Robin Foster
Cinematography Sean Ellis
Edited by Richard Mettler
Chocolate Frog Films
Distributed by Independent (UK)
Haute et Court (France)
Captive (Philippines)
Festival (Spain)
Release date(s)
  • January 20, 2013 (2013-01-20) (Sundance)
  • September 20, 2013 (2013-09-20) (United Kingdom)
  • October 9, 2013 (2013-10-09) (Philippines)
Running time 115 minutes
Country United Kingdom
Language Filipino

Metro Manila is 2013 British-Filipino independently produced crime drama film directed by Sean Ellis. Ellis also co-produced and co-wrote the film.[1] The film was selected as the British entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 86th Academy Awards,[2] but it was not nominated.


  • Jake Macapagal as Oscar Ramirez
  • Althea Vega as Mai Ramirez
  • John Arcilla as Ong


Looking for a better life in Metro Manila, Oscar Ramirez and his family escape their impoverished lives among the rice fields north of the Philippines. Upon arriving, they fall victim to the manipulative ways of city hucksters. Oscar lands a job in an armored truck company. He befriends his senior officer, Ong, who takes Oscar under his wing.

Soon, it was apparent that Ong has been waiting for someone like Oscar for a long time.


The film was shot on location in the Philippines in 2011 with a Filipino cast and crew members. The Filipino language is used throughout the film.


Metro Manila had its International premiere at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival[3] on 20 January 2013. It was also released on 17 July 2013 in France, 28 August 2013 in Belgium, 29 August 2013 in the Netherlands, and 20 September 2013 in the UK.

Metro Manila had its Philippine premiere on 9 October 2013.

Metro Manila was re-released with special screenings to raise money for the victims of Typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda that had hit the Philippines and killed close to 6000 people. Its British director, Sean Ellis said: "The people of the Philippines were tremendously supportive during the making of Metro Manila, and it's only right that we should now use the film to raise money to help the victims of this terrible disaster."

Critical Reception[edit]

Rotten Tomatoes lists a rating of 100% based on 23 reviews as of June 2014.

After winning the Hamburg Film Critic Award at the 2013 Filmfest Hamburg, the jury said of the film: “The themes of our times are what define this film: rural exodus and impoverishment, exploitation and poverty in the Moloch of overcrowded metropolises. Director Sean Ellis filmed this story in a language that is foreign to him - and yet still always manages to hit the right tone. He is emotional, yet never impassioned; poetic, yet never tawdry; raw without any hint of cynicism. A social drama that becomes a thriller, breathless and unstoppable. “Metro Manila” deserves to be seen by many. This film belongs in the cinema. ...”[4]


At the 2013 British Independent Film Awards (BIFA) Metro Manila was nominated in five categories and won awards for Achievement in Production, Best Director and Best British independent film.[5]

List of Accolades
Award / Film Festival Category Result
British Academy Film Awards[6] Best Film Not in the English Language Nominated
2013 Sundance Film Festival[7] Audience Award: World Dramatic Won
Grand Jury Prize: World Dramatic Nominated
Filmfest Hamburg[8] Hamburg Film Critic Award Won
Polar Festival de Cognac[9] Grand Jury Prize Won
Seminci[10] Espiga de Oro: Gold Spike Nominated
Espiga de Plata: Silver Spike Nominated
Best Director Nominated
Best Script Nominated
Best Cinematography Nominated
Amazonas Film Festival[11] Best Director Won
Best Script Won
Audience Award Won
British Independent Film Awards Best British Independent Film Won
Best Director Won
Best Supporting Actor - John Arcillia Nominated
Most Promising Newcomer - Jake Macapagal Nominated
Achievement in Production Won
Satellite Award[12] Best Foreign Language Film Nominated


See also[edit]


External links[edit]