‘Iti Mapukpukaw’ lands on Variety’s prediction list of Oscars’ best int’l feature
David against the giants—a.k.a. the Goliaths.
That’s how “Iti Mapukpukaw’s” executive producer Antoinette Jadaone sees the 2024 Oscars race for the Philippines’ official bid to the Academy’s Best International Feature Film category.
So, making it on the prediction list of an esteemed entertainment publication like Variety—which, by the way, had a pretty accurate forecast of last year’s Oscars winners—is already a win for the local film industry.
The list was split into four categories: “Predicted Nominees,” “Next in Line,” “Other Top-Tier Possibilities,” and “Also In Contention.” Carl Joseph Papa’s “Iti Mapukpukaw” (globally known as “The Missing”) sits among the “Also In Contention” candidates, landing the 23rd spot overall.
While Jadaone admits that the Filipino-Ilocano animated film’s current rank is “still very far” from actually snagging a place on the shortlist, she believes that this is proof that “our grassroots efforts are making progress.”
“We learned from [X, formerly known as Twitter] that this is unprecedented,” wrote the film’s co-producer in an Instagram post. “[It’s] the first time Variety has ranked a Philippine submission for their annual Oscar predictions.”
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Entries from the UK, France, Germany, Spain, and Japan currently occupy the “predicted nominees” spots. According to Variety, though, the list isn’t final yet and “will be updated throughout the awards season.”
So, in Jadaone’s words, we say: “Share. Get the word out. We’re the small film that could. A Filipino film. Let’s make history!”
Let’s be real: Animated films have *largely* been seen as kiddie fare—filled with whimsical characters and catchy songs. But with “Iti Mapukpukaw,” the director aims to show that animation is more than that; it’s a visual form that can tackle the gritty and complex narratives usually reserved for live-action.
“It was always clear to me that this was going to be another animated film,” Papa wrote in his director’s note for 2023 Cinemalaya. “It’s still quite rare to see animated feature films in the Philippines, much so [one] that deals with adult themes that are not usually tackled by animated films.”
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Papa also shared that the film’s premise means something personal to him. “It is made of dark and repressed memories,” he divulged. Writing the story has become his coping mechanism—a way to speak up about his struggles and encourage others to do it, too.
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The director added: “From the true meaning of the word animation, which is to ‘bring life,’ I hope that in creating Eric, I create a refuge for people who suffered the same fate as he did. I hope that it creates a safe space where giving information, fostering understanding, and initiating discourse are things we don’t have to be afraid of.”
For those unfamiliar, “Iti Mapukpukaw” follows Eric as he navigates his life’s complexities, triggered by the arrival of a familiar extraterrestrial visitor and the passing of his uncle.