The new indie thriller “Metro Manila” from British writer-director Sean Ellis will premiere in the World Cinema Dramatic Competition at the upcoming Sundance Film Festival next month in Park City, Utah.
“Metro Manila” tells the story of Oscar and his family, who leave behind the primeval poverty-stricken Banawe rice fields to seek a better life in the big city of Manila, where they fall victim to the machinations of big city folk and must learn to survive a city lifestyle.
The film is described as “vividly capturing the desperation of life amongst the squalid Manila slums” with Ellis’s direction smartly “ratcheting up the tension, creating an intense thriller with a poignant humanity and palpable dramatic stakes.”
The all-Filipino cast includes Jake Macapagal, Althea Vega, John Arcilla, Miles Canapi, Ana Abad-Santos, Moises Magisa, J.M. Rodriguez and Erin Panlilio. Original music by Robin Foster, cinematography by Ellis, screenplay by Ellis with Frank E. Flowers and film editing by Richard Mettler and casting by Raymond Alzona.
“Metro Manila” was produced by Mathilde Charpentier and Ellis; executive producers were Ellis, Enrique Gonzalez and Celine Lopez; associate producers were Macapagal, Missy Papageorge and Stefan Sonnenfeld.
Ellis’s psychological thriller “The Broken” premiered at the 2008 Sundance Film Festival. The Academy Award– and BAFTA-nominated director started taking pictures when he was 11 years old. At the age of 26, he became a sought-after fashion photographer before crossing over into film.
After writing and directing three successful short films, Ellis expanded his Academy Award–winning short, “Cashback,” into the feature film of the same name.
The idea for “Metro Manila” came to Ellis after he witnessed an incident on a Manila street while visiting in 2007. The film is Ellis’s third feature and second world premiere at the prestigious Sundance Film Festival.
For more about the festival go to: http://filmguide.sundance.org/event/films/category/WOR
Here’s the official Sundance synopsis:
Seeking a brighter future in megacity Manila, Oscar Ramirez and his family flee their impoverished life in the rice fields of the northern Philippines. But the sweltering capital’s bustling intensity quickly overwhelms them, and they fall prey to the rampant manipulations of its hardened locals. Oscar catches a lucky break when he’s offered steady work for an armored truck company and gregarious senior officer Ong takes him under his wing. Soon, though, the reality of his work’s mortality rate and the murky motives of his new partner force Oscar to confront the perils he faces in his new job and life.
Tagalog with English subtitles, 2012, 114 minutes, color, United Kingdom/Philippines,
Cast and Credits
Director: Sean Ellis
Screenwriters: Sean Ellis, Frank E. Flowers
Executive Producers: Sean Ellis, Enrique Gonzalez, Celine Lopez
Producers: Mathilde Charpentier, Sean Ellis
Cinematographer: Sean Ellis
Editor: Richard Mettler
Production Designer: Ian Traifalgar
Composer: Robin Foster
Principal Cast: Jake Macapagal, John Arcilla, Althea Vega